Well, it’s the season of giving and, unfortunately, some of us got gifts we didn’t really want.
No, not housework stuff–although those count, too. I’m talking about all of the unpleasant viruses that come home at those times of year when we’re all crowded together and in a sharing mood.
It’s instructive to note that Dr Watson is typically much more interested in the details of a woman’s dress than he is in discussing illnesses and injuries; aside from the mention of a summer cold (brought up by Holmes, incidentally), and the occasional missing thumb, we don’t hear much about illnesses in the Canon (of course, there are mentions of Holmes’ rest cures, but those are for illnesses of a different kind).* It seems to me that General Practitioners like Watson labored under continual stress–the stresses of getting established, the stresses of getting (actually) paid, and the stress of not always having the pharmaceutical tools they needed to truly help their patients. I just finished reading a truly frightening article in the 1887 British Medical Journal in which a physician discussed using guaiacum and aconite as a treatment for quinsy (aka, peritonsillar abscess)–often accompanied by “stimulants” such as ammonia and strychnine.
Looking through various London papers from 1887 (the year Baring-Gould says “The Blue Carbuncle” occurred), one sees other possible remedies for winter illnesses. These seem (on the face of it, anyway) less horrific and occasionally amusing….
And, for those who just overindulged, there was this remedy, apparently made of ginger, aloe, and soap (I’m guessing that soap was the active ingredient)….
One can see why Watson relied so much on brandy.
Well, hopefully no one in your family is laid up by illness of any sort this winter, but if it should happen, what better remedy than to relax on the sofa with a good book? The BSI Press has been publishing good books for many years now, and today’s prize features two of these:
Every well-read Sherlockian should have these on their shelf. To enter the drawing, you just need to tell me where in the Canon you can find this quote (and I can’t resist making it a video version)….
Send your answers in via blog comment, or message me on the Well Read Sherlockian FB page, or my personal FB page if we know each other. Meanwhile, stay well!!!!!
*If you’re interested, you might want to check out Janet Oppenheim’s Shattered Nerves: Doctors, Patients, and Depression in Victorian England. It’s an amazing book–and Holmes is actually mentioned.
Day 5 Winner!!!!!
Congratulations to Ruben, who knew that the Day 5 quote came from “The Mazarin Stone.” I know that this is not the most original, or popular stories in the Canon, and some even believe it’s not a true Watson tale, but it has some wonderful exchanges, and this is one of my all time favorites!