Famous Novelist's Death
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Famous Novelist's Death is an article published in the Evening Sentinel (Staffordshire) on 7 july 1930.
Obituary of Arthur Conan Doyle.
Famous Novelist's Death
SIR A. CONAN DOYLE'S VERSATILITY.
Sherlock Holmes' Creator.
We announce with deep regret the death this morning of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous novelist, at the age of 71.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would wish his fame to rest upon his beliefs in communication living and the dead. It is more likely, however, that " Sherlock Holmes will be the medium of his immortality.
Sir Arthur was born in Edinburgh on May 22, 1859. He wrote his first book of adventure at the age of six and illustrated it himself, but his literary career dated more correctly from 19 years of age, when his first short story was published in Chambers' Journal."
After Stonyhurst, Doyle studied medicine at Edinburgh University, and it was the inductive methods of his professor, Dr Bell, that led to the creation later on of the most famous detective in fiction. He was an enthusiastic and useful cricketer in his younger days, and once took the wicket of the great "W.G." He was caught behind the stumps, and Sir Arthur well remembered that he got some runs himself in that match.
Sixty Books and Plays.
After taking his degree as M.D. at Edinburgh, Doyle was in medical practice for eight years at Southsea, and later was senior physician of the Langman field Hospital, South Africa.
Sir Arthur vigorously espoused the cause of Oscar Slater, who was sentenced to imprisonment for life for the alleged murder of Marion Gilchrist. Believing that there had been a grave miscarriage of justice, he conducted a strenuous campaign for the reopening of the case. In this he was ultimately successful and Slater was acquitted. A little later, however, Sir Arthur sued Slater for art the costs of his defence, but the matter was eventually settled amicably.
Doyle — The Spiritualist.
Sir Arthur claimed to have had conversations with the spirits of Cecil Rhodes at his grave in the Matoppo Hills and also with Lord Haig and Joseph Conrad.
"I pledge my honour that Spiritualism is true," said Sir Arthur a few months ago, "and I know that Spiritualism is infinitely more important than literature, art, or politics, or, in fact, anything in the world."
In the cause of Spiritualism he travelled extensively and lectured in all parts of the world. In the psychic museum, which he established in Victoria-street, London, are shown many photographs and records of the phenomena in which he was so deeply interested.
In 1900 Sir Arthur contested Central Edinburgh as Liberal Unionist, and Hawick Burghs as a tariff reformer in 1906, but he probably exerted greater political influence when he called upon all Spiritualists to oppose the Tory Government in the General Election of 1929.
Sir Arthur was twice married, and his first wife died in 1906. He leaves a widow, two daughters and two sons.
Son's Splendid Tribute.
Mr Adrian Conan Doyle, one of Sir Arthur's sons, paid one of the most remarkable tributes to his father ever made by a son, in an interview to-day with a reporter.
"He was a great man and splendid father," he said, and was loved — and was happy because he knew it — by all of us.
"He had had heart trouble for six or eight months, but recently it had been easier, and he had suffered less pain. Then two days ago came a sudden turn for the worse, and he died peacefully at 9.30 to-day.
"My mother and father were lovers after 23 years, as they were on the day they were married. Their devotion to each other at all times was one of the most wonderful things I have ever known. She nursed right through his illness to the end. His last words were her, and they show just how much he thought of her. He simply smiled up at her, and said, 'You are wonderful.'
"He was in much too much pain to say lot. His breathing was very bad, and what he said was during brief flashes of consciousness. Never have I seen anyone take anything more gamely in all my life. Even when we all knew he was suffering great pain, he always managed during the time he was conscious, to keep a smile on his face for us."
"Tired of Sherlock Holmes."
It was in May last, on his 71st birthday, that Sir Arthur, in an interview with a reporter, said that he was tired of Sherlock Holmes, that he feared another European war in 26 or 30 years, and that he thought modern youth marvellous.
"To tell you the truth," he said, "I am rather tired of hearing myself described the author of 'Sherlock Holmes.' Why not for a change the author of 'Rodney Stone,' or of 'The White Company,' or of 'Brigadier Gerard,' or of 'The Lost World?' One would think I had written nothing but detective stories."
He added, "All this twaddle about youth being decadent was talked before the War. Never was there a better generation of young men and women than that of to-day. They are freer in thought and speech, but that is to the good. Really, they are marvellous."
Sir Arthur's interest in Spiritualism was also well-known. He told a meeting of the International Spiritualists' Congress, held in London in September, 1928, that he had been in conversation with the late Field-Marshal Earl Haig, and the late Joseph Conrad, and he showed on a screen a number of spirit photographs.
"You know that Lord Haig was a Spiritualist?" he told his audience. "Within two days of his death, or it might have been three, he sent me a long message which had every sign of being evidential and truthful. It was a message that would only appeal to his relatives. I sent it to them."
At this same meeting Sir Arthur showed what he claimed to be a unique collection of psychic pictures. Eight years had passed, he said, since the public were first shown fairy photographs, and nothing had occurred since to shake the evidence.
In March this year something of a sensation was caused by the announcement that Sir Arthur had resigned from the Society for Psychical Research, of which he had been member for 36 years. In a lengthy letter to the chairman of the Council. Sir Lawrence Jones, intimating his resignation Sir Arthur described the influence of "entirely for evil," and stated that for a generation it had done no constructive work of any importance."
Sir Oliver Lodge's Tribute.
Sir Oliver Lodge to-day paid an eloquent tribute to Sir Arthur's work for spiritualism.
"I fear the South Africa trip was too much for him," he said to a reporter. "He never spared himself the cause was at stake. Much more than most of us he regarded himself as an apostle or missionary and threw himself and all his belongings into the movement. Even among those impressed with the magnitude of the issue, few are willing to sacrifice themselves to the same extent. His period of service is not ended."