A/n: Inspired by KCS, who taught me what a "pocketbook" is. ^-^
I generally don't take much notice of Holmes's choice of dress; it's prim and quiet and, I may say, tight-fisted with florid details that would add interest to my writings. But this morning I nearly dropped the paper in shock—for as Holmes emerged from his room, as the butterfly from the cocoon, he was carefully holding a purse that would have overpowered the hues of the most garish Lepidoptera.
"Good morning, Watson," he said absently, rifling through the purse's contents before snapping it shut by its silver rings, studded with faux pink diamonds. "Ready for our constitutional?"
"Well eh, I suppose so," I said, folding the paper. "I don't recall ever seeing that purse before, where did it come from?"
His grey eyes put me in mind of small, lonely storm clouds. "Don't you like it?"
"Er, well," I sputtered a moment. "It's a fine purse, but—I don't think it suits you, Holmes. Your old pocketbook was perfect, I don't see why you had to go and get something—something like that."
He smiled stiffly, thrusting the purse into his pocket. "Well, well, everyone has their own tastes in fashion, of course, and I shouldn't have expected you to agree. I might have thought you'd be a little more understanding of a fellow wanting to add some colour to his wardrobe. After all, I never hound you over those wretched spats you insist are the 'latest fashion.'"
"Now wait just a minute, Holmes," I exclaimed, throwing the paper down. "You can't expect me to take this turn of events calmly; can't you see you look a fool with that pink purse? You might as well don a feather boa! I tell you, I'll colour red as a crab if I have to march alongside you through London, that—that—abomination in your hand!"
Holmes dropped his gaze. "So you won't go with me for a walk unless I look proper?"
"That's not what I said, Holmes—not exactly, anyway. I'm only giving you my honest opinion. I thought you'd want to know; I thought you took pride in your appearance."
"I do!" He cried, spreading his arms. "As much as any man! I thought the silver rings looked dignified in a restrained way, and—well, but what does it matter!" He finished bitterly, with a terse gesture. "Apparently all that talk of yours was meaningless chatter, and you really want me to be like everyone else. The same cufflinks, the same coat—oh yes, Sherlock Holmes can be eccentric in behavior, that's loads of fun to write—but let him just touch some odd accoutrement and the truth comes out. Clearly, my appearance is worth more to you than our friendship." His bitter smile ebbed away, replaced by slumped shoulders.
Guilt overcame me, and getting to my feet I approached my sad friend. "No, Holmes, I don't want you to be crushed into the mold everyone else is made from, and I'm sorry I gave that impression. What type of pocketbook you choose to carry should have no effect whatsoever on our friendship."
He turned to me and gave a broad smile. "I should have expected nothing less from you, Watson. And now let us hurry, for while Miss Claire is no doubt still in that cloudy-minded state of euphoria that overtakes clients whose cases have been solved, she will soon be brought sharply to earth when she finds she has left her purse, and the thirty pounds it contains, in our flat."