Doing the Giveaway every year has had its challenges. Finding prizes, coming up with questions, remembering what day it is….
Obviously I mess up quite a lot–you know–you’re here for it. But one thing I’ve tried to correct this year was the disturbing lack of Watson. He’s around, of course–in questions, writing the actual stories, etc., but most of our prizes have really been centered around Sherlock Holmes, or the stories. I can’t think of one that has belonged solely to John H. Watson, MD.
So I started to think of some options. If Nigel Bruce’s daughter would publish her father’s memoirs, that would be perfect (see link to some excerpts here: http://scarletstreet.yuku.com/topic/1101/Games-Gossip-and-Greasepaint-Nigel-Bruce-s-Autobiography?page=1#.WGsSC7zdTlI)…but alas, that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon. I am fairly certain I cannot offer brandy, or a service revolver, and do you really want a portrait of Gordon or Beecher for your wall?
I thought not.
So how about this?
This is a genuine walrus-leather medical bag. Unfortunately, as you can see, it didn’t belong to Dr. Watson, or even someone with the same initials (more’s the pity) but as Dr. Robert Katz, one of the editors of Nerve and Knowledge, suggested, it’s highly possible that, as he was just starting out, Watson didn’t have the money for a new bag, and so purchased a used one. Here, he’s getting a beautiful finish, and still has money left over for instruments. This is what you will tell your friends, family, and fellow Sherlockians. Everything else is between us.
This bag is American, not British; it was remarkably difficult to find antique physician bags on eBay UK, actually. Chances are, given the style and condition, it dates from the late 1910’s to the 1920’s, but I don’t know for sure. There is no key, but the latch works (there were interior shots on eBay which show a very clean lining in excellent shape, with instrument pockets). Unfortunately, I have not been able to open it myself, and would rather leave that to its new owner, than to try more vigorously and break it.
Here are a few more images:
Hopefully, you’ll find this a fascinating piece, just perfect for your “curious collection.” If you do, and want a chance to win, tell me which part of Holmes’ statement here is the literary allusion, and what is he quoting?
Holmes gave a whistle of surprise. ‘You can write me down an ass this time, Watson,’ said he. ‘This was not the bird I was looking for.’
As always, send your answers in via blog comment, Facebook PM, or Twitter DM! Two days to go!