His eyes blaze as fiercely as if he were upon the scent, and the strength in his muscles is not much below that of his prime. He trembles with rage, his voice pitched with such mastery that I must strain to refuse him.
And yet I must refuse him. “Lestrade is dead, old fellow. He’s been gone nigh well fifteen years. His daughter gave you that watch the day of his funeral, remember?”
“Nonsense; I saw him yesterday. This watch is a clue to his case. Now kindly un-block the door, Watson. I have no use for such …” he pauses, and his sharp eyes dim a moment as he searches for the word. In his exasperation, he pounds his fist upon the door-jamb mere inches from my head, but still I stay my ground.
“Damn you, Watson,” he growls, turning away in disgust. He throws himself into the armchair by the fire, his determination to leave forgotten – for now.
I watch him cautiously for a while; the promptings of his still brilliant but now sadly disordered mind can flare up at a moment’s notice, as embers buried in ash might burst into flame as the hearth is stirred. No less than five times this morning I have had to dissuade him from leaving the house while still in his pyjamas; he is losing the ability to dress himself, and I must needs supervise him, bearing his acerbic comments as he informs me that he does not need me.
Part of me wishes to oblige him and leave this cottage, leave him to his own devices. But I know that whether he believes me or not, Sherlock Holmes still needs me, now more than ever. Sometimes I must bite my lip to keep from shouting at him that it is now nineteen twenty-seven, that our friends are dead and gone, that he is retired and living in Sussex Downs, that I am a fool for staying where I am not wanted.
And then he will turn to me, his eyes glowing as they did the night we fell in love, and I remember why I stay. This damnable disease is turning my companion’s brain to mush, and I must help him keep what he can. It is a thankless and untenable situation – for both of us. Lord knows it shall kill me, but still I must stay by his side.
I can do nothing else.
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