It's hard not to think of Kitty Winter these days. Even though the season premiere of CBS's Elementary is weeks and weeks off, its prophecies of a new character by the name of "Kitty Winter" teaming up with its main character has that name upon many lips.
Kitty Winter . . . Porky Shinwell's fellow resident of "Hell, London." And best supporting role in the "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client," print version.
Kitty is "what Adelbert Gruner made me."
Yet we're never exactly sure what that is, thanks to the Victorian sensibilities of Watson's literary agent.
But we know this: Kitty Winter is fire. Kitty Winter is vengeance personified.
She is young, slim, "flame-like," and burns with hatred at a level of intensity that Watson claims is rare in women and non-existent in men. It's a little bit sexist, unless one wants to claim being the gender capable of higher emotional levels is a complimentary thing. In which case, it is still sexist, just nicer.
Adelbert Gruner used Kitty, we have her own statement on that. And Kitty loved Gruner, surely as intensely as she later hated him, which is probably why the baron wanted her. She loved him so much that it didn't matter that he murdered people. No, it wasn't the murders that turned her off him, which is interesting.
Gruner took something from Kitty Winter. Not merely her virginity, nor vanilla sexual tastes. Her health seems good enough. No, her greatest wish is to see him "in the mud with my foot on his cursed face." Kitty wants to bring him down, and if the Biblical "eye for an eye" holds true, that is what he did to her.
Kitty Winter obviously wasn't born in the slums of London, which she describes as "Hell." She probably had a good family, friends, and a life in a class of people where being courted by a baron was just what one did. If one looks at the "wonder woman" that Gruner is currently dating, Miss Violet De Merville, one can probably glimpse what Kitty Winter was. Had Miss De Merville made it through a relationship with Gruner and lived, she would have been a totally different kind of Kitty, yet a Kitty all the same -- an amazing woman, used for her connections, position, and wealth until they were all used up, then cast into the slums to pick a living as best she could.
Kitty Winter is a fascinating character, with many secrets we have never been told. Sherlock Holmes selected her as a partner in crime, which says something very important about her. This was no common street whore, as some would make the mistake of thinking. No, whatever trades Kitty used for her survival were probably much more interesting than that.
Elementary's combination of modern day setting and "in name only" character borrowing will surely not be giving us a great exploration of the woman Watson met so long ago . . . we have yet to see a fully-considered Kitty in any acted medium as yet, probably because like a Lovecraftian creature, Kitty's strengths in a story are what is left unsaid about her. Yet we have to wonder. We always have to wonder . . . and hope.
Winter is coming again. And as with all winters, this one won't be the same as any before. Let us hope we get many more Kitty Winters before we are through.