It was a bright and beautiful May in the year 1901, and my good friend, reluctant muse, and longtime fellow lodger Sherlock Holmes was struggling valiantly through his annual head cold. He is almost never ill, though if I do not look out, he can work himself straight into a nervous exhaustion. But every year I had known him, a virulent cold would beset him like clockwork at the return of fair weather. Within the first week of real, honest, warm spring sunshine, he would begin applying his handkerchief to his nose surreptitiously throughout the day, with an expression which suggested that he was perfectly fine, thank you, Watson. By the third or fourth day from the onset of symptoms he would be really unwell; never feverish, nor so badly off as to take to bed, but hoarse-voiced, coughing, clearing his throat continuously and quite worn out. I did what I could, of course, with nutritious soups and puddings privately requested from Mrs. Hudson, and hot mustard plasters applied to his chest, and frequently proffered shawls, but a cold will not be hastened off. I would have given a great deal to be able to relieve him.
So I felt a sense of nearly providential revelation when, in the midst of some paragraphs in the Journal on the so-called nervous diseases, I found evidence suggesting that the prevalence of pollen in spring may induce symptoms like his. I set down my paper and stared at him, snoring softly in the depths of his armchair where he had dropped off into a restless, wheezing, discomfited doze after lunch. Three days before, beginning to be unwell, but not yet housebound, and full-tilt on the trail of a kidnapper, he had stopped in the street to interview a witness to the crime, the driver of an overflowing flower cart parked in lower Oxford. Over the course of a few minutes' rapid questioning, Holmes had been overwhelmed mid-speech by violent sneezes a half-dozen times. At last, breathless, with watering eyes, he had waved the man away, and buried his face in his handkerchief, with a muffled angry exclamation of "Dear God!" that would have made me laugh aloud had he not been so clearly miserable. He had been worse the rest of the day.
No coincidence, his sneezing fit, then; it had in all probability (supposing the Journal's information sound) been the fault of the flowers. I looked around the flat with new eyes. There were blossoms everywhere: a vase of freshly-blown roses on the mantle, a posy of begonias drying atop the bookshelf. Mrs. Hudson had even set down a bowl of delicate violets on the table in the midst of Holmes' chemical apparatus. We all loved flowers; welcomed the children selling armfuls in the street as the heralds of spring, and filled the house with their fragrance while the season lasted. Supposing we ourselves had made poor Holmes ill, every year? The conviction dawned clear, and with it, the way to help him; but how to obtain my proof? I sat in the quiet of our rooms, in the glow of the afternoon's rich sunlight, listening to Holmes' little whistling snores as he slept, and reasoned my way through the necessary steps for a diagnosis.
By the time he woke, the sun had nearly set, and Mrs. Hudson and I had cleared away every vase and posy in the house. If he noticed their absence, he was too uncomfortable to be interested; he merely looked about him for tea, and when I had poured it out, took it resignedly, visibly consigning the remainder of the evening to gloomy inaction. I resolved to read to him till bedtime, anything he liked, even his legal texts, which were dry as dirt and as impenetrable.
At my offer, he brightened up a little; shuffled through the papers under his chair, and handed over a stained folio, which proved to be a mid-century study on feline biology. I read, softening my voice to suit his mood. I flatter myself I managed to make the sordid details of diseased mammalian organs sound soothing. He closed his eyes and drowsed a little in the firelight, rousing now and then with a cough and a fumble for the truly abominable handkerchief he had been snuffling into all day. I resolved to steal it and substitute a clean one as soon as he had made his way to bed, which he did at last, with a quiet word of thanks. I could hear him blowing his nose in his room, and splashing away at his nightstand; then the clatter and clank of the poker as he stirred up the coals; and finally all fell quiet.
I went round the sitting room, then, and opened wide every window; any pollen remaining in our rooms had to be well cleared out. The cool night air flooded in around me as I stood looking out over the house-tops into the foggy night. I thought of hours spent cold and wakeful under unfamiliar skies, amid the mountains of Afghanistan. The crackle of the hearth behind me became the rising sparks of a watch-fire; the soft light of the street-lamps, the cool glow of the Oriental moon, exposing our incursion into her territories--our terrible presumption. Twenty minutes passed me by in moments. When at last I came to myself with a shiver, and drew the shutters, and took myself off to my chamber, I expected to dream of the roar of the artillery, of men and horses screaming, their voices indistinguishable in common pain, and the howl of the winds about us; but instead I dreamed of Holmes, laughing softly beside me in the dark.
I woke with hope in my heart, and by noon he was actually better; still hoarse, but breathing freely. He ate his lunch with some real interest, and after took up his violin. By sunset he was so far improved as to hover about the front window, watching with keen attention the goings-on below, and narrating for me the hidden intentions of a half-dozen hapless neighbors walking by. I exulted, but silently: it would be premature to claim success. But for the next few days he continued to improve. By the third he was to all appearances quite well.
Now for the final proof. I would try out my hypothesis without telling him, so as not to bias the results. He went out to Scotland Yard mid-afternoon, to search their records on a case of double identity. I left the house five minutes after and scoured a dozen streets for flower-sellers, young and old, buying up a few blooms of every kind I could lay hands on.
In our rooms, I arranged the resulting rather extravagant bouquet in our largest vase, carried it into his room and left the whole upon the mantle. Then I took my seat by the fire. When Holmes returned at last he found me innocently working my way through three months' unexamined accounts and bills. If I looked at all self-conscious, he made no comment; only threw himself full prone upon the sofa and closed his eyes. Evidently the evidence gathered required a thorough contemplation.
He never moved. I set aside my papers and went to my rest at last, silently hoping that he would not meditate all night, since the trial of my theory could not succeed without his actually going to bed. I drifted off into dreams without hearing him stir; but I was wakened quite suddenly in the depths of the night by a sneeze, and then another, and after a moment, a quiet curse from the direction of Holmes' chamber. I smiled and sighed into the dark.
Whatever uncertainty might have remained as to results was removed in the morning when Holmes entered the sitting room just past eight, rumpled, pale and absolutely ill. "Watson," was all he said. His voice was in ruins. He slumped into his chair and buried his face in his hands.
There was no doubt I had done what I'd meant to. Now to confess.
"Holmes," I said, "my dear Holmes, you're unwell again."
A deep sigh, from behind the hands.
"I'm afraid it's all my fault."
He looked up sharply, watery-eyed and frowning. "How's that?"
"I believe--well. I think it's the flowers."
"You're not making any sense." He was too weary to display even a spark of his usual curiosity. I rose from my chair and took the Journal from the shelf; I had marked out the relevant page.
I held it out. "This suggests that fresh flowers may make a sensitive person ill. The pollen inflames the airways, and the result is an apparent cold."
He took the article, and began to read. Irritation, surprise, dismay and hope flashed over his face in quick succession. He looked up again, eyes gleaming. "I see what you mean. It's possible; but how on earth would it be your fault?"
"We'd had no blooms in the house for days, and you were very nearly well, till I bought that bouquet for your room."
He blinked, and said, "You brought me flowers?"
"Yes--the ones on your mantle. I looked for the asters particularly; I know you like them." I was puzzled by his expression; he was looking at me with a startled and searching interest, as though I had done something quite new. "Irrelevant now, of course. If they've made you ill, we ought to take them outside."
"Yes--of course. I thought Mrs. Hudson had arranged the vase for me."
"No, I'm responsible. Forgive me?"
"What? Yes, of course. There's nothing to forgive." He nodded, and smiled, and still I had the sense that he was thinking of something quite different, and went on thinking of it for some time after, curled up in his chair with an abstracted air and a handkerchief held to his maltreated nose. I took away the flowers, and aired out his room, and fetched him his tea and his books; settled down in front of the fire and lit up a cigarette, and wondered.
Two weeks later, Holmes gave me a book. I had come home late from attending on an asthmatic patient, a bitter old man, too rich for his own good, petulant and demanding; but he sent for me often, and I swallowed my pride for the sake of the income. After his graceless company, it was a relief to return to our shabby, kind, comfortable rooms. The lamps were lit, and my dinner on the hob. Holmes stood over the table in a blue silk dressing gown, sorting through his collection of newspaper clippings with a charming concentration on his brow. Setting my plate aside to cool, I went to my bookshelf for something to read. There atop it lay a little leather book, new to me, beautifully bound in leather and gilt. I picked it up. It was a volume of Hafiz.
"Holmes," I said, "did a client leave this?"
He paused, with a scrap in each hand. "No, I bought it for you."
"For a case?"
"No." There was a bashfulness about his brevity. He wouldn't look at me. Warmth spread through my heart. It was a gift, and he was shy of having given it.
"Thank you," I said. "It's lovely."
His back was still to me, but I heard the smile in his voice when he suggested, "Read it to me?"
I did so, long into the night.
Later, in bed, I lay thinking. He had never brought me a present before; but Holmes is far more expressive in his affection than I, quick to note the things that please me, and eager to arrange them--trips to favored restaurants, serenades and stories, and my arm tugged close into his wherever we go. I am honored to serve him, to stay with him, to mend his injuries, and praise his abilities, but I am not so free with those little gestures that appear to come naturally to him. I wondered, then, if he felt my constraint as a lack between us.
Some nights later, after supper and scotch and a fragrant pipe, Holmes had laid himself out full-length on the bearskin rug we kept before the hearth, an idle arm flung up above his head. I watched him as he watched the light of the flames play over the ceiling, with pensive mouth and half-lidded, dreaming eyes.
“Holmes,” I said at last, “are you thinking?”
He blinked; turned his head to smile at me. “Wool-gathering, doctor. Nothing important. What is it?”
“I wonder what you have deduced about my family.”
He sat up at once, and looked at me more closely. We do not talk about our boyhoods; I suspect with good reason on both our parts. “Do you really want me to say?”
“Perhaps use some circumspection.”
“All right.” He sat thinking a moment, then offered, “You have told me your parents are dead. But I think the connection was distant, even in life. You do not talk of them, fondly or otherwise. You do not keep photographs of them about, and you never refer to their views when discussing your own convictions. You formed your idea of yourself without much reference to them.” He hesitated.
“Good so far,” I said. “Go on.”
“All right. Your brother is also dead. But he was an influence, for good or ill. You’ve kept his watch. You evince visible emotion on the rare occasions we refer to him.” And indeed the thought of him brought on an immediate reaction, a deluge of sorrow and amusement and anger and love, the pangs of the filial bond I bear broken, now he is gone. Watching me, Holmes said quietly, “He drank; perhaps for the same reasons that you fought the Afghan war--to get away from the intimate discomforts of an ordinary life lived alone.”
A shiver ran through me, and he grimaced. “Shall I stop?”
“No,” I said; then, after a moment, when he continued silent, “He used to talk to me when he was drinking. He said I was a good boy, a brave boy, better than him, and I’d make it, if he didn’t. I hated it, and yet I let him talk.”
His gaze moved over my face, once, twice. “Was he was the only one who praised you at home? Perhaps a nurse, when you were small, but generally--No. They were cold to you.”
“Why do you say that?” I could hear the strain in my voice. “Is it a lack of warmth in me?”
“No! No, not you. You are--” He stopped, sighed; began again. “When you came, you were so remarkably self-contained I could tell nothing about you save your profession, the state of your injuries, and the fact that my work intrigued you, impressed you. I enjoyed that, and made the most of it; but I felt I had little else you needed. You seemed entirely sufficient to yourself. But then one night I had been irritating you with my aimless sawing about on my instrument, and offered to play for you, to make up for it. I asked what you liked to hear--you remember.” His gaze fell to the ground, a little smile playing about his mouth. “Your face changed in an instant--your expression opened up like a flower in bloom.” He flushed at the sentimentality, but went on. “That much happiness at so small a courtesy seemed evidence enough that you were not used to kindness. And you have always responded so, since, to anything I can offer. It is a remarkable pleasure to do things for you.”
When I could find my voice, I asked, “And were you used to kindness?”
There was silence. Finally he said, “In boyhood? Yes, I suppose I was.”
“He was a great boy gone away to school before I outgrew my pinafores. But I felt he was fond of me, in a distant way.”
“And your mother?”
“She would sing and laugh with me like a child herself.”
“And your father?”
A change in his expression; a hand rose to touch his face, restlessly, and fell. When he answered his voice had grown brittle. “He cared for us. He was proud of me, but I can barely remember that. He died, and our house was sold to pay his debts, and my mother went home to her people. I was sent to my uncle’s in the country, to learn how bitter pride and bad temper may overrule a grown man's reason, to the grief of all around him. If I trust more in rationality than in feeling, that is why.” His tone hardened; his eyes flashed to mine, defiant.
I was silent a moment, in deference to that defiance. He had not needed to tell me that. Then, “I know,” I said. “We did what we could. I lived on my skill, and you on your wits. Thank God, we have more than that now. You may not talk of kindness, but you are kind.”
He looked startled. “Oh,” he said, and then, lowly, “Thank you, Watson.”
After that it was almost easy, when I spied a stack of sheet music in the corner bookshop, to rifle through it in search of pieces Holmes and I liked; to present my finds to him, and brave his flustered thanks, and enjoy the sight of him tuning up his violin intently some minutes after, already half-lost in the thought of the music. Affection might come awkwardly to me, but gifts might be given without words, and if he was shy in the giving of them, they meant something to him. I knew I was right when, some weeks later, a slender silver fountain pen appeared on my desk where my stained old iron nib had been. I wrote him out a very elegant note of thanks, admiring the flow of the ink; gave it to him as I went off to bed. He blushed as he took it from me: I had flustered him again. It was a surprisingly pleasant sensation. The next week I picked up a pocket Petrarch at a bookstand. I left it on his desk in turn. When next I saw it, weeks after, he had brought it along on the train. It was already dog-eared, well-loved, and his smile when I noticed him reading it was hesitant, but bright.
It was by then midsummer. The anniversary of our first meeting was again approaching. In years past we had gone out to the theatre, or the coffeehouse, and come home to toast one another's health in front of the fire. Now I found I wanted to do something more for him. What could I offer? My presence, always; my interest in his theories, and my courage at his side; but all of those were already his. And I wanted to give him something more than the little tokens we had been exchanging.
My words. The thought came to me as I was just waking. I sat up in bed and said aloud, "Of course," because he fed on praise like a cat on cream. He might grimace at the romanticism of my stories, but I had seen him entirely speechless after an approving word from me. I would praise him--I would write for him. I would set down on a page my gratitude at the singular grace of having met him; what it had meant to me to be his friend.
I wrote my letter. It made my heart beat faster to think of recording so intimately truthful an account of itself; but I had motive enough. I sat down in my own room, the night before, and searched for words. The things I had written of him in the Strand were accolades for the thinker, the fighter, the public man: this must be praise for the man all alone, the truth of him. At first it felt like stripping off my own skin to uncover the feelings I needed, things I had never said clearly even to myself. But the more I wrote of the loveliness I saw in him, the more I found I needed to say. When at last I lay down my pen there were three pages before me covered front and back, and my hands trembled. I had to sit still and collect myself. I would have laughed at myself, had I not felt like weeping. How had I not said any of this to him before?
After some minutes I took it up again to look it over, and correct any errors. On the first page, my head began to spin. I am a writer. Words are my trade. I recognized what I was reading, as I had recognized nothing while I wrote. I could barely breathe, but I kept on to the end. Then I laid the letter down upon my writing desk, and sprung up, and stood unseeing, trying to comprehend what I had done.
It was a love letter. What I had written was a declaration of passion--deep, abiding, hungry. I had meant only to do him justice for twenty years’ goodness to me. I had believed I had loved no one in all my life. I had never wondered why I had to invent the romances my editor required, while I wished for nothing more than to be with Holmes. I had meant to be a bachelor all my days, and felt no regret.
I do not know how long I stood there in the ruins of my certainties; but when I returned to myself, my candle was half burnt down upon my desk and the letter lay awaiting my seal. I sat down again. I had to rewrite it. I had to take it all out--to start again--to find a way of telling him what must be said, without telling him the heretofore undreamed-of whole. It was not that I blamed myself for anything, even in my shock; I must credit myself that far. I had known men who loved men, who lived with them, as most men live with their wives. There was another writer, met in my editor’s halls, who’d invited me to dine with him, and had introduced me to his intimate friend with no visible trepidation; there were the poets and actors who frequented his house of an evening, when I came back again to see the two of them. There was a surgeon who served with me at the poor ward, who’d asked me quietly to attend his companion in his last illness. There had been two maids at school, inseparable, who had slept in the same bed, all those years ago. I had formed no judgment against them. I had read little on the subject of the third gender, of the life of the invert, but I could see no evil in it. But to find I’d lived so long without knowing myself was a shock on its own; and then to understand my heart was not my own, but his--
I had to rewrite the letter.
I began again. When I had finished, it was past three in the morning and I was nearly wrecked by the effort expended to make the letter into something Holmes could read. I felt had removed too little, and far too much. Every word I’d struck out had hurt me; every word left in terrified me in its honesty. I had no doubt of what I felt; the process of writing that letter over required utter clarity from me; it was a sort of vivisection of the secret self. Each expression of tenderness I removed from the page I’d taken straight into my soul: This is how I love him. Every word of praise I let stand, I’d studied from all sides, trying to understand where friendship and love were divided, or whether there was any difference left between them for me. When at last I wrote what little I dared allow myself down fresh upon a single page, I sealed it up, that I might not be tempted to rewrite it again--only because I knew I must sleep, or I would be found out. He would know if I had not been to bed, and want to know why. He might guess it all anyway, when he read the letter, in spite of all my efforts; but I could think no longer.
I have pitched my tent and made my bed on a battleground before. I laid aside my clothes for a nightshirt, and set aside all thought of the danger ahead, and slept.
Waking, I felt I had been unconscious only moments. My troubles felt no less immediate; but the clock said it was nearly eight. I dressed myself, and shaved, regarding myself in the mirror with a sort of wonder. This is the man, I thought, who loves a man. This is the idiot who lived twenty years with a man, the best man in the world, and never noticed that he loved him. This is sort of fool who can write a love letter and not realize it. Know yourself, John Watson. I looked myself in the eyes and tried to understand myself; gave it up at last, and went downstairs, with the idea that I ought to face my fate with breakfast in me, at the least. I laid the letter on the dining table, went to the stairwell, and called down for Mrs. Hudson to bring our eggs and toast up; took my place at table when it came, opposite the damned letter, and went deliberately through the morning mail, with the sense of flat calm that comes in doing one’s duties by rote in the hour before battle breaks.
When at last he came in, in shirtsleeves and dressing gown, tumbled-haired, radiant, he barely looked at me; said immediately, "I was thinking," and launched into a diatribe on Russian philosophy, law and criminal behavior that lasted twenty minutes, leaving me entirely confused as to context. I sat, trying to make out the point of it all, with a sense of absurd anticlimax. I was beset with conflicting impulses: to shout at him, to laugh aloud, to stand up and give him the letter, to stand up and run from the room. But I managed to keep my head and keep quiet until he finally came down to earth long enough to stop beside the breakfast table, take a piece of toast, and spy my gift.
He said, “Oh,” surprised; took it up, and sat down, with a curious glance at me, and commenced reading. I watched with my heart in my throat. I saw the moment the words began to sink in: he took a breath, while sudden emotion washed over his face. He ducked his head; turned away from me a little to finish. When he looked up at last he was dazed, tender-eyed. "Watson," he said, in a voice I hadn't heard before, so soft it sounded quite new.
I had made him happy. I had not thought how to act if he was not angry. I had been so ready to be found out. But now it seemed I had been given a reprieve; I would have to face it all, but not now; now I could rest. We ate our breakfast quietly: I, watching him; he, with his eyes on his plate, thinking. It took him nearly the whole of it to tuck away the amazement in his expression.
When we had finished eating he turned brisk; he had post to answer, experiments to tend to. I meant to write, but lost myself in my relief, watching him at his worktable, thinking of how weary and lonely a man I had been the morning Stamford brought me in to see Holmes. He had turned and taken me in at a glance, and spoken to me eagerly, as to a friend. I have never met a kinder soul: so I had written in the letter which he had tucked into his pocket. I could see the little white corner of it poking out as he leaned over his table, stirring a solution with concentrated care. All at once I was weak with love for him; and for the first time since I had realized the fact, I felt it as a blessed thing. Suppose it was all right?--suppose we could go on like this, after all? Suppose he never noticed a change? I felt now I had loved him all along. It did not seem like I was doing him any harm.
At last he went into his room for a wash-up, and I shook myself out of my thoughts, with an effort, and looked about me for my coat. We went out arm-in-arm to our coffeehouse for a hot lunch, over which Holmes made me laugh until I was gasping. The distress of the night, the terror of the morning, suddenly relieved, in unholy combination with the lack of sleep, had left me almost giddy with nerves. I know my mood confused Holmes; I caught him looking at me oddly more than once. I am usually more restrained in public, but I don’t think he minded. We went on from there to the Baths, which we have always taken as a kind of semi-private paradise for our enjoyment. I calmed by degrees in the enervating comfort of the sauna. After, wrapped in a good thick towel, and ensconced in a deck chair, I watched him delight in the pool.
He is beautiful in water, at home in his body, and master of the element, as he is of all things. I have never learned to swim. I couldn't now if I tried, thanks to old injuries, but when he'd finished, I took a turn on the massage table, and he talked to me quietly of anything and everything while the attendant worked me over. I am never entirely free of pain, but on the table it loses its strength for a while. By the time the man had finished with me, the physical release of my overwrought nerves left me so weak I could barely stand. Holmes helped me to a sofa in the cooling room, half-amused, half-concerned by my helplessness. He lay down beside me in the fragrant half-dark, and watched me, trying to puzzle me out. I was too exhausted to care. So all-enfolding was the peace that I began to drowse, and then to dream, and roused only at the delicate brush of his hand over my hair. "Come on," he said, "come home, and you can sleep."
Home, then, through the late afternoon's tender light. I walked with him in a daze. I was still shocked to my core, and more than a little afraid; and yet I felt alive--overwhelmingly alive. I was in love with him. I had not thought myself capable of the state. It made everything around me seem fresh, immediate. The very air seemed brighter; home, when we arrived, more precious to me. He took my coat from me, and smiled at me; said, “Go to bed, Watson.” I went, in a sort of perilous gladness.
When I woke again, the light had gone; night was falling over the city. I splashed my face, and smoothed back my hair--came into the sitting room in my slippers, with my collar undone, and found him leaning on the mantle, just lighting his pipe. Atop his desk sat a great, brand-new, shining gramophone.
I stopped dead in the middle of the room, while he set down the pipe, and watched me. I love music. He knows it: he discovered its power over me within weeks of my moving in. I found my voice. "Oh, Holmes."
He flushed at my tone; stepped over and laid a hand on the machine, watching me. "What do you say? Shall we have a song?"
"Yes," I said, "please." Whether he had planned the purchase, or gone out to get it on impulse while I slept, I didn't know; it scarcely mattered. He had done this for me. I adored him. I watched as he set the needle, and started the table turning, and then the first notes played, and I laughed. The piece had been selected to my taste, not his; it was a beautiful, old-fashioned, sentimental waltz. He looked up, unsure, intent on my reaction. I held out my hands to him. "Is your card already full, or will you dance with me?"
It was a jest; but there was a moment's entire stillness, and then he crossed the room, and took me in his arms.
I couldn’t think. He was holding me--his breath was in my hair. His hand found mine and cradled it; the other slid down my back to rest at my waist, reverent. I yielded to its pressure, and we were dancing. We moved across the room almost without thought. I wanted to lay my head on his breast. I wanted to weep. I wanted to search his face, and see what I could find. I looked over his shoulder, instead, and thought about kissing the tender part of his neck, above his collar, which was just at a level with my mouth. I nearly laughed aloud at the thought of his confusion if I dared the act. I was, possibly, not quite in my right mind.
The song ended. He released me. I dug up the last of my courage, and looked up to find his whole soul in his eyes.
"John Watson,” he said. “You wrote me a love letter."
"Did I?” I was still breathless. “I could have written more.” A smile like sunlight broke across his face. "That’s good?"
"It is if you meant all that."
"What, in my letter?"
"All of it. The flowers, the music, the book, the letter. The courting. Did you mean it?"
Courting. Was there no end to my self-deception? For courting him I had been. I had another moment's utter astonishment to struggle through before I could say, "Yes. Yes, I did mean it,” because what was there left except to admit everything he saw, and let him lead me, as I always do? Amazed, I said, "What now? Have I won you over?"
"My dear John, there was no need of that,” he murmured. “I was won long ago," and then tears came into his eyes, astounding me. He looked at me steadily, and did not try to hide them. After a moment, warm, careful hands came up to cradle my face. "If I may," he said. I had no words left to answer him, but I nodded, and then all at once I was being kissed, with a ferocious certainty; and I was lost.
I know that few love only once; it is a strange sort of gamble, everything I am on one man. But I love him and no one else. I will love him always, so long as he is himself. I suppose that ought to frighten me, but it does not. He gave me his heart before I knew I had asked for it; I do not believe he will want it back. He has all of mine: I love his oddities and uncertainties as well as I do his brilliance and beauty. Whatever else he is, or will be, I will love that too. I suppose it is a kind of madness. Still, I think it is better for me than lonely sanity. I have won the heart of Sherlock Holmes: that is enough.