An Exceptional Blackbird
June 21, 2014 3 Comments
I love a pen with a good story and very often the story attaches to a personalisation so I’m certainly not one of those who dislikes engraved names and initials on old pens.
Under other circumstances this would be a very ordinary Blackbird. However, it was owned by L W Hyde who was a medical doctor practising at different times in South Africa and South America. The pen is discoloured to dark brown, perhaps by the subtropical sun. It seems likely that Dr Hyde had no issue, as his effects ended up in a box in a friend’s attic. Recently, the friend’s grandson found the box and among other treasures of a bygone era was this Blackbird in a handmade oak box.
Having our knowledge of the item enhanced in this way elevates the pen from being yet another anonymous example of that model to a valued link with the past. We don’t know all that much about the long-deceased doctor but his practice in these far-off places makes him, and hence the pen, quite exceptional. It’s impossible to feel the same way about Dr Hyde’s pen as one would feel about a pen that turned up with no provenance attached.
For a moment I thought he might be the eponymous hero of RL Stevenson’s “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” but of course he’s Doctor not Mr Hyde and he would have had to be very long-lived to be that entirely fictional character.
I would have liked to have had some assistance from my assistant with this article but she was otherwise occupied: sleeping. She was out carousing until 4:30 AM. Would that I had her social life!