Friday, February 14, 2020

This Valentine was no saint

Pity poor Violet Westbury.

As Violets in the life of Mr. Sherlock Holmes go, she's probably the one that gets the least attention. Her case, "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans," has that really bland, over-long title and isn't one of the more adventure-y adventures. Or even one of the most interesting. But what makes matters even worse?

The poor woman can't even enjoy St. Valentine's Day.

You see, poor Violet was in love once.

Her beau might have been just a government clerk, his career just beginning, but he was chivalrous and patriotic and full of that happy energy of a lad with a dream. Violet Westbury wasn't one of those Canonical women who hooked up with an abuser or her step-father in disguise. She had a love and a future.

Until Colonel Valentine Walter came along. And suddenly, Violet's true love is not only dead, but the prime minister himself is thinking her love is a traitor to all of England. Valentine's brother specifically makes reparations for the cad to England once Sherlock Holmes exposes his villainy, but is there any possible reparation for Violet? Does any one of these powerful men, including Sherlock Holmes, give her a second thought? Noooooooo.

The Queen of England herself gives Sherlock Holmes a nice reward. But Violet?

When we last see her, she's just hanging out at her once-future-mother-in-law's house on the outskirts of town, dealing with their common grief. Hopefully someone, perhaps a thoughtful John Watson, came by to tell her that her dead love died trying to defend his country's secrets before the story went public in The Strand Magazine thirteen years later. But once she knows, what's she left with?

A holiday all about love with the same name as the privileged brat responsible for her true love's murder. And it's even "Saint Valentine's Day."

Poor Violet Westbury. Let us hope she found love again, enough to make her forget that awful connection.

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