It may not have been the happiest Christmas of John Watson’s life, but it was certainly the happiest in recent memory. His Mary would always be a ghost of Christmas past, but at least there was only one ghost, now. 221B reeked of shag again, papers all over the floor–and his own medical magazines and writing things. He was back in the flat with “the best and wisest man,” and if he only wrote of two of their cases that year, it wasn’t because they’d been idle. Work was the best antidote for sorrow–but it was nice to not have two deaths to mourn anymore.
I’ve shared a lot of murder with you this Giveaway (and those were not the worst cases I found) but crime wasn’t always grim in Victorian London. Sometimes it was just…ridiculous. Here are some cases that never made it to 221B:
THE LATEST BOMB SCARE IN WHITEHALL.
STUPID WORK OF A PRACTICAL JOKER.
Some little excitement was occasioned at several of the Government offices by the delivery of suspicious-looking parcels addressed to the Secretary of the Duchy of Cornwall, Colonel Sir Nigel Kingscote, Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests, and three or four other officials. In one case the parcel contained a box, with mechanism attached; and fears being entertained as to the possibly dangerous character of the parcels sent to Scotland-yard for examination. They were, however, found to contain nothing more dangerous than paper torn up, and it was evident that some person had perpetrated a stupid practical joke. The parcel addressed to the Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests was sent from Tamworth, Staffordshire, and was delivered at the offices in Whitehall by a Midland Railway porter. It was handed to a messenger, who cautiously untied the string and, noting the appearance of the enclosed box, immediately gave information to the police.
THE ARREST OF TWO MEN.
The sequel to the receipt of the mysterious packages at the various Government offices in London yesterday followed at Tamworth to-day, when Detective Fisher arrested Charles Joseph Bent, master plumber and decorator, and Frank Cannock, mechanic, of Tamworth, on a charge of sending parcels containing twenty-four bombs to the Government offices at Whitehall. The police believe the action of the accused was a ruse for securing the prize for advertizing a certain periodical, copies of which were enclosed in the packages. It is stated that the bombs were provided with a cap which would explode with a loud noise, but were otherwise harmless.–Pall Mall Gazette, December 1, 1894.
I don’t know what the “periodical” was–but I can’t imagine he won the prize, can you?
THE POLICE COURTS.
BOW-STREET.–A Striking Christmas Box.–One of the prisoners who was stated to have been fighting said to the magistrate: “It was like this, your worship. A man comes up to me, and says, says he, ‘Here’s a Christmas box for you.’ With that he gave me a box. I accepts it because I couldn’t help it, and returns the compliment.” –Sir John Bridge: What sort of Christmas box was it?–Prisoner: One behind the ear-hole, your worship, and a good ‘un it was. (Laughter).–It was stated the prisoner was a hard-working man, and he was discharged.–Another man charged with being drunk and fighting urged as an excuse that he had been to a music-hall.–Sir John Bridge: It is said that music charms the savage breast. It seems to have aroused your fighting instincts. (Laughter.) Go away.–The Daily News, December 28, 1894
Now for today’s question, in which, astoundingly, Canon and real life may well collide…..
Do you ever wonder what happened to Holmes’s clients after their cases were concluded? I found this interesting little article in Reynolds’s Newspaper of December 16, 1894:
Allowing for the (reasonable) possibilities that Watson changed the name of the client in order to protect his identity, and that Baring Gould was wrong on the date he assigned this particular case, which story would this article be a fitting coda for?
If your entry is selected in the drawing, you’ll win the final “book club” prize of the year, this time including books that examine the history of Sherlock Holmes and his creator:
As always, to enter, send your answer in via blog comment or FB message. Now to get caught up on the drawings! We’ve got one more day!!!
Noreen Pazderski is the winner of the Strand subscription! Here is what she thinks Holmes did after pitching over the edge in “The Adventure of the Final Problem.”
I think that Holmes needed some time to recover from injuries sustained trying to escape from Reichenbach so he did spend time in Tibet and traveling Europe in disguise. Then he cleaned up the remainder of Moriarty ‘s network before coming home to London to defeat Moran.