S.H uses very formal language for example even when he is talking to Watson he says “which you will allow me”, and uses laboriously constructed sentences frequently which appears to make himself sound more intelligent. He is very confident in himself and states his own opinion as a fact, “there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace”. All these and the following points about S.H are what makes the stories so easy to parody: he always has the same features and has the same distinct mannerisms “finger-tips still pressed together, his legs stretched out in front of him, and his gaze directed up to the ceiling”. He also has a constant “look of infinite languor in his face” showing he doesn’t let any case trouble him. Also he has a meticulous process of deduction involved in his method of investigation: he finds a clue and sits in silent thought; he is always right. He has a certain process of questioning, then observing, then analysing.
S.H and Watson seem very close and the impression is given that Sherlock is never out of work. Their relationship however is similar to that of some teacher-pupil relationships, as Watson admires Sherlock while Sherlock looks down on Watson. Not only does he correct Watson’s observations; S.H labours the point to make his assistant appear incompetent. For instance when Watson remarks that much of what he’s read is “invisible” to him, S.H responds “Not invisible, but unnoticed, Watson. You did not know where to look, and so you missed all that was important.”
He continues in a condescending tone, finally asking Watson what he understood of the woman’s appearance and ordering him bluntly “describe it”. After Watson gives his detailed description his efforts are under minded by Sherlock telling him “You are coming along wonderfully!” only to patronise him further and expose his inadequacies “It is true that you have missed everything of importance, but you have hit upon the method, and you have a quick eye for colour.”
When the solution to the crime is explained, S.H is in his customary relaxed position- “feet up on the corner of the mantelpiece, and leaning back with his hands in his pockets”. His summing up of the whole offence to Watson is addressed primarily to himself in a narrative style, of a tone similar in parts to reading a story to a small child. He even includes rhetorical questions for instance “What does her clever step-father do then?” He also gives a detailed description of the stages of the incident, taking care to highlight the main characteristics of each participant in the ‘crime’, helping to discard the irelevent details, concluding finally with the revelation of the truth. Even then, Watson is bemused and Sherlock takes a 2nd opportunity to demonstrate his linguistic and deductive skills and explain once more to him.
In the parody Watson-who we presume is the anonymous narrator-is again ludicrously naï¿½ve, he demonstrates from the outset that H.J is admired by him but the exaggerated style pokes fun at the relationship between them as ‘Watson’ gently caresses his boot. H.J’s “superhuman insight” is a reflection of S.H’s unnatural abilities. In ‘The Stolen Cigar Case’, obvious statements are made by S.H and expanded in ridiculous detail made in a way which gives no room for argument.
A comic effect that Bret Harte has made a vast use of is frequent sarcasm, H.J’s attributes are being addressed rather that the person himself “what new problem-given up by Scotland Yard as inscrutable-has occupied that gigantic intellect?” This is a similarity as S.H is portrayed as someone remembered best for his eccentric characteristics rather than his personality. In addition to the characteristics of S.H and Watson, Bret also overdoes the examples of Sherlock’s connections with important people, parodying C.Doyle by use of outrageous details.
As seen in “A Case of Identity” S.H has meticulous record keeping, Bret Harte ridicules this by showing small glass jars on H.J’s shelf containing “Pavement and Road Sweepings” and even “fluff from Omnibus and Road-Car Seats”! H.J’s speech and language are also very melodramatic to magnify the fact Sherlock speaks in a formal fashion.
In the story, H.J goes to eccentric lengths to try and prove that his partner Watson has stolen his expensive cigar case, when all along it is clear to the reader that it has just been mislaid. He goes as far as to say to Watson “You bartered your honour for it-that stolen cigar case was the purchaser of the sealskin coat”. This left Watson stunned. However by the time H.J has finished his long speech about how Watson must have taken it, Watson was left doubting his own sanity, Even though he knew deep down he hadn’t stolen the cigar case.
When Hemlock realised that it had been in his draw all along he was “vexed” and in shock as he said slowly “I have been mistaken”, despite this he still didn’t apologise to Watson for accusing him. I think Bret Harte did an effective parody of the Sherlock Holmes stories as they are already over the top to start with, so it must have been difficult to compete with that. I think he achieved a comic affect within his version of the story and was good at enlarging the ridiculousness of it for the humour of the reader.