It has taken me years of study, but I believe I have put my finger on
There has always been an adjustment in my friend Sherlock Holmes'
behavior when our friend Lestrade of Scotland Yard is
took me all this time to pinpoint it properly, for the difference is
subtle and multifaceted, but at last, that evening sitting cozily
before the fire at Baker Street, I was able to determine what it
was. The shift lies in two things: first, everything about my
friend is slightly heightened when Lestrade is near, as if he were a
character in a stage production unconsciously playing himself, and not
simply existing, as he does when the two of us are alone. His
hands as we discussed the weather and the newspapers were a bit more
flourishing, his sardonic tone a little dryer, his deductions more
clipped, and his laughter prolonged. I do not think that this
because Sherlock Holmes does not like the Inspector, but rather because
he likes him heartily and thus presents himself as the leading actor in
a drama when Lestrade is around. And second, he was watching
watching them. I love to listen to the two friends, whether
are bickering or discussing evidence or merely chuckling over one of
their mutual acquaintance's foibles, and it is safe to say that Holmes
knows it. Where Sherlock Holmes is concerned, I am as clearly
read as a page in this very journal.
When Lestrade fell silent that evening, puffing at his cigar, my friend
eyed him keenly. The Inspector scratched at his narrow
patently not speaking, the picture of an urge suppressed, winding up
Holmes' curiosity as easily as he would wind up a watch.
has dark brown hair, neatly slicked back, and a slim face with a broad,
honest brow and a thin-lipped mouth. He is a short, compact,
slender man--not in the lissome sense of Holmes' svelte poise, but his
body is a tribute to quiet understatement and the lack of available
time to eat hearty meals. His dark eyes are brilliant and
tenacious, and though he is unimaginative, he is a decided savant in
the realm of practicality. When he is smiling, one forgets
entirely that he is rather plain.
"Anything remarkable on hand?" my friend asked when he could stand the
suspense no longer, looking sharply at him.
Lestrade's mouth twitched pleasantly. "Oh, no, Mr.
Holmes--nothing very particular."
"Then tell me about it."
Lestrade laughed, and I laughed with him. When he heard me,
Holmes' quicksilver eyes slid in my direction and then drifted lazily
away again. He likes to make Lestrade laugh, for the
such an utterly honest individual that my friend need never wonder
whether his merriment is feigned or flattery. But when he
me laugh in the Inspector's presence, the triumph is amplified
enormously. He loves me, after all.
"And yet it is such an absurd business, that I hesitated to bother you
I smiled inwardly. This was not Lestrade being shy, not a bit
it. This was Lestrade being deliberately coy; he knew himself
source of some of my friend's most memorable cases, and he knew the
cases fully as important to my friend as light or air or
And so he dragged it out, as fond of dramatics in his own humble,
plainspoken way as my shimmering genius, and wove himself thoroughly
into our tapestry. A solid, dependable brown thread advancing
a perfectly straight line.
"In my opinion," he said, his prim mouth revealing that whatever he had
brought us that evening was very choice indeed, "it comes more in Dr.
Watson's line than ours."
"Disease?" said I, languidly.
I do not often find myself the center of any focus between the three of
us, perhaps because much of Lestrade's performance is for my friend's
benefit, and most of Sherlock Holmes' is for mine. When I am
to speak in our trio, it is as a divertissement, a departure from the
main theme so that when the principle duet is returned to, it is of
still greater interest. Holmes is the virtuoso, Lestrade the
programme, and I the audience. And so I remained silent after
placing my single word upon the table.
"But then, when the man commits burglary in order to break images which
are not his own, that brings it away from the doctor and on to the
"Burglary!" my friend exclaimed, sitting up in his chair.
"This is more interesting. Let me hear the details."
It is impossible to express how much I adore that look from
For he was no longer acting, then: he had accidentally slipped into
being Sherlock Holmes the man rather than Sherlock Holmes as played by
Sherlock Holmes. The expression on his face when he knows
something truly unique and puzzling is about to march dogmatically out
of Lestrade's mouth is a thing of pure joy. My lover has a
arching brow with a beautiful sweep of black hair, a nose with a regal
hook that might have belonged on a Roman potentate, and a pair of eyes
that glisten like icicles in his pale countenance when a case is about
to be placed at his feet. This priceless expression--the
of a schoolboy inside the visage of the most elegant man in London--is
why Lestrade drags it out so. When it works, the look is
absolutely worth Lestrade's extra effort, and I love him for performing
the additional labour.
Lestrade had earned that wonderful expression, and he knew
he sat forward self-importantly and made a show of consulting his case
notes even though Lestrade never needs his case notes. All
room in Lestrade's brain left empty of imagination is packed full of
"It had been carried out and dashed savagely against the garden wall,
under which its splintered fragments were discovered," he said at the
end of the tale, and I knew from his matter-of-fact tone just how much
he was relishing the bizarre account of wrecked statuary.
Holmes rubbed his hands. "This is certainly very novel," said
he. He had returned by now to playing himself for Lestrade's
benefit, accentuating his long fingers the way a shapely girl would
arrange for herself to be backlit, watching me watch them. It
not always this way between them--in the early days there were testy,
useless verbal sparring matches, staged half for my benefit and half
because they genuinely annoyed one another. And then suddenly
fine afternoon I think they found that the fighting had only made them
value each other all the more. Candour is a virtue Lestrade
possesses in spades, and while my friend is admittedly approachable on
the side of flattery, he knows when admiration is genuine and when it
"I thought it would please you," Lestrade grinned.
These days, so much of what Lestrade does is to please my friend that
at times I wonder whether he values Holmes' solutions or Holmes'
pleasure more highly. And then I think of the way Lestrade
when we arrested Colonel Moran together, the line of rage which had
appeared on his flat, smooth brow when he turned to the man who had
nearly killed Sherlock Holmes for the second time, and I know the
answer. The Inspector, neat as a pin and at first glance dull
a field mouse, is a man who loves his work in the exact same obsessive
fashion that Sherlock Holmes does. That is the reason, I
that he has never married--he brings charming, simply spoken young
ladies to the annual Christmas ball thrown for the policemen, but they
are never the same from year to year. I know, therefore, that
part of his reason for offering puzzles to my friend the way a cat
offers its owners dead birds is to see them solved. But the
I believe in my heart, is the delight in giving Sherlock Holmes a
Sherlock Holmes, I have discovered through many years of loving him, is
not a happy man by default. It takes considerable
If he were less moved by the plight of strangers, less certain that
justice was his sole responsibility, less terribly unbalanced in his
soul, less intelligent, less apt to think of death and suffering until
his only solution is of seven percent cocaine, things would be
different. Easier. Whereas Lestrade offers him
present my entire being to him as a human sacrifice: whatever he needs,
whenever he needs it, that is what I will give, for I belong to
him. I will place my arms around him, lay the latest
in his path, request the saddest songs on his violin, bare myself for
him, take whatever he gives me no matter how painful and then ask him
for more of it. But I am not the only one who loathes to see
suffer. Lestrade is living proof of that. There is
something so fine and noble within Sherlock Holmes' melancholy once you
have seen it that it makes those few he allows in his private circle
want to give to him endlessly.
It hurts us both, at times, truth be told. Fights between
and Lestrade are now merely a pleasant verbal way for them to pass the
time, but the Inspector knows my friend well enough to see when he is
truly in pain, and he dreads it like an echo of my own
It hurts Lestrade when Holmes solves a dark case from his armchair and
then adopts an aching, wistful expression. Lestrade's mouth
into a tense little dash, and he holds his neatly brushed hat in both
his hands as he bids me goodbye, and he sets off for the Yard no matter
how many hours he has already worked that day to find something to vex
Sherlock Holmes' brain, for fear he might one day leave us
permanently. It hurts him in a way I would once not have
possible. And it hurts me, right to the core, when I am
my friend's black head on my bare shoulder, and I know he loves me for
an endless fact, and yet I still sense the onset of a misery I cannot
always prevent and am afraid of deep down in my bones.
But it is all worth it, every bit of it, to see him when he is
"Therefore, a local fanatic would begin with them," Lestrade
concluded. "What do you think, Dr. Watson?"
After years of acquaintance, one might think that Lestrade would
eventually have dropped our prefixes, but he never will. He
saying them. He likes the fastidious air of courteous
professionalism the titles give him, the way they sound in his
mouth. He began by calling my friend Mr. Holmes, and he
shall now. Part of that is because they make him feel like an
Inspector, a man with his own title, and part is because Lestrade knows.
Oh yes, Lestrade knows. I can tell that he knows.
away at precisely the moments when Holmes seems in imminent danger of
beaming at me with glowing affection, and doubtless he grants me the
same courtesy. And apart from that, we have all seen far too
of one another to keep it a secret. I recall a wretched case
the dockyards when Holmes for several minutes thought he had lost me to
the Thames, and the hideous grief on his face would have rivaled a
mother's, let alone a friend's. Lestrade knows, and that is
other reason he calls me Doctor and Holmes Mister. No one, in
sweetly simplistic opinion, ought to say "my dear Watson" and "my dear
Holmes" apart from Holmes and Watson.
"That won't do, my dear Watson," said Holmes, shaking his head at my
ridiculous little speech regarding monomania. The "my dear
Watsons" do not diminish in Lestrade's company--on the
I am like a beautiful watch or a handsome new carriage, a lovely
possession to be casually shown off to guests at every possible
opportunity. I am a highly prized adornment to be placed out
the open and pointed at. It is always my Watson, my boy, my
fellow, my good Doctor. I am not certain that Sherlock Holmes
aware of this, but he is so obvious in the company of Inspector
Geoffrey Lestrade that we may as well both be wearing engraved wedding
bands. I would have had a stern word with him on the subject
ago, but it makes my heart glow quite absurdly.
Lestrade left us that night with the pleased expression worn by a
hardworking man who has put in a good day's labour. And the
morning, I was standing in my bedroom bare from the waist up, still
dressing, when there was a tap at the door and Holmes entered, a
telegram in his hand. His sable hair was falling over one
eye, his dressing gown was open over a clean white shirt, and he walked
up behind me where I stood before the mirror. He slid both
arms over and around my bare shoulders with the paper in his fingers
and set his lips against my skin as he lifted the wire before my eyes.
"Come instantly," he read. "131 Pitt Street,
"Good morning. What is it, then?" I asked, ducking down to
kiss his sleeved arm where it lay draped over my shoulder.
"Don't know," he muttered sleepily into my neck. "May be
anything. But I suspect it is the sequel of the story of the
statues." He invests his words with absurdly lilting and
alliterative poetry in the early mornings, stringing them into silly
little rhymes or blank verses when he is just awakening, and not yet
fully on his guard. This was one of his better efforts, so I
smiled at him in the mirror. He nuzzled further into my neck
response, like a great grey and black cat. "There's coffee on
table, darling, and I have a cab at the door."
It was a case of murder to which we had been called, as it
happened. I ought to have expected it and so should Holmes,
Lestrade rarely sounds so urgent. Our friend was standing in
front room of the house with a very grave set to his small mouth, his
shining brown eyes quite troubled. It is one of the most
significant reasons my friend likes him so much. Holmes feels
tragedies, they cut into him as if he were the murder victim although
he gives away nothing on his countenance, and when Lestrade betrays
that they trouble him too, it makes my friend all the
Nothing wounds Sherlock Holmes deeper than violence and evil waste, and
my lover--while outwardly stoic--possesses no filter whatsoever to keep
such deeds from harming his spirit. That is the reason we
so about him. But Lestrade's far more visible distress gives
permission to be frigidly above it all, without which charade he would
fall to pieces. Their total fellow-feeling in the realm of
justice done is an almost uncanny bond at times, as strong as watching
Holmes and his brother think in the same room, or viewing Holmes as he
listens to Sarasate play the violin.
Once we had interviewed Mr. Horace Harker, the journalist, and studied
the photograph found in the dead man's pocket, we all three of us went
outside. We were subdued, as befits a murder investigation,
the identical energy was running through all our veins. We
knew our parts and how to play them, and it was as thrilling as the
instant before an actor sets foot on the stage with every line
memorized and every movement learned.
The bust of the great emperor lay scattered, in splintered shards, upon
the grass. Holmes picked up several of them and examined them
carefully. Something in his gaunt posture changed that only
Lestrade or I could have noticed. A little of his languid
fluidity disappeared, as his enormous grace was channeled into
purposeful examination. It is like watching a tightrope
whose every movement is balletic suddenly stride with piercing
concentration onto the slender line high above the ground, and Lestrade
and I had seen it hundreds of times before. I was convinced
at last he was upon a clue, and so was the Inspector.
"Well?" Lestrade said, not needing to say any more.
Holmes shrugged his shoulders. "We have a long way to go
yet. And yet--and yet--well, we have some suggestive facts to
upon. Why did he not break this in the house, or immediately
outside the house, if to break it was his sole object?"
"He was rattled and bustled by the other fellow," Lestrade said
reasonably. "He hardly knew what he was doing."
"Well, that's likely enough. But I wish to call your
attention very particularly to the position of this house."
Lestrade looked around him. Sometimes when Holmes delivers
hints, he can guess at them, and sometimes he falls short.
that reason, my friend peers at the considerably shorter man intently,
waiting to see whether or not his seed will bear fruit. And I
watch, as I always do, and Holmes watches me watching them.
"It was an empty house," Lestrade decided, "and so he knew he would not
be disturbed in the garden."
My friend pursed his shapely lips into an expression he reserves
exclusively for Inspector Lestrade. It means that Lestrade is
both right and wrong at the same time, and begs him to try just a bit
harder. That set of Holmes' lips does make Lestrade try
but when Lestrade is trying hardest, he is inevitably least successful.
"I give it up," he said at last, as if Holmes had presented him with an
impossible riddle at a dinner party.
Holmes pointed a slender finger above our heads.
Lestrade started laughing appreciatively. "He could see what
was doing here, and he could not there. Now that I come to
of it, Dr. Barnicot's bust was broken not far from his red
Well, Mr. Holmes, what are we to do with that fact?"
My friend smiled silkily. "To remember it--to docket it."
They continued to discuss what were the best approaches to the case
while I listened. They have been so long working together
they are effortless in their ease of planning with one another, because
they know that their planning is not truly leading where they pretend
it is. Lestrade knows that he is only really telling Holmes
he plans to do so that Holmes can warn him off if the approach is
harmful to his own thread of inquiry. And Holmes knows that
only telling Lestrade a fraction of what he has already deduced,
because Holmes is as much a magician as a detective. But
knows he does good police work even if he may well be surprised in the
end, and so does my friend. It is a partnership based upon
trade: Sherlock Holmes gets the brilliant surprise, and Geoffrey
Lestrade gets the official credit. And I get the satisfaction
seeing the man I love most in the world happy, even if only for a day.
My friend and I continued the investigation along his line that
afternoon, for Holmes seemed bent on tracing the busts. Our
efforts quickly brought considerable results: Mr. Morse Hudson supplied
us with the name of Beppo, and with his relentless energy Holmes pushed
on, taking us through fashionable, theatrical, literary, and maritime
London on route to Gelder & Co., of Stepney, where the tenement
houses sweltered and reeked with the outcasts of Europe.
learned that Beppo had knifed another Italian in the street and was
sentenced to a year's imprisonment just after the 20th of May.
When I was visibly beginning to flag from hunger in the late afternoon,
my friend took my arm and ducked without a word into a restaurant for a
hasty luncheon. I finished a dish of curry while Holmes sat
tearing a piece of bread to useless bits with his long fingers, reading
the account of the murder writ up by Mr. Horace Harker in a freshly
printed news-bill propped against the cruet-stand.
"Eat," I said to him, pushing his plate of grilled fish in his
direction as I kicked him under the table.
He chuckled, still reading. "This is all right,
Listen to this: 'It is satisfactory to know there can be no difference
of opinion upon this case since Mr. Lestrade, one of the most
experienced members of the official force, and Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the
well-known consulting expert, have each come to the conclusion that the
grotesque series of incidents, which have ended in so tragic a fashion,
arise from lunacy rather than from deliberate crime.'"
"It generally goes in this fashion: one grips a fork, just so," I
explained pleasantly, "and places a small amount of food upon
Then one has nothing further to do than simply lift it into the mouth."
"The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution, if you only know
how to use it."
"Some even say," I continued, "that the thrice daily practice of eating
goes a long way towards sustaining one's health. But I am a
licensed physician, and thus give no credence to such wild, unfounded
"And now, if you are quite finished, dearest boy, we will hark back to
Kensington and see what the manager of Harding Brothers has to say on
the matter," he said cheerily, pushing to his feet.
"If you collapsed in the middle of the road, I would leave you there
and watch the carriages run you over," I muttered darkly.
and your brain, it having grown too heavy to support any longer."
"No, you would not," he whispered against my ear as he bustled me out
the door, ghosting his fingers over my arm. "You would drag
home through the mud and invent exquisite punishments for the crime of
total mental engagement mixed with a rigourous work ethic."
"I am inventing the punishments now," I sighed.
"And I look forward to suffering them. After this matter of
the busts is settled."
When we had taken detailed notes of the location of all the busts, we
returned home to Baker Street to find Inspector Lestrade in a fever of
excitement. He was pacing about with quick, dapper little
wearing the same flushed glow of triumph my friend adopts when he has
seen the light. Apparently, he had identified the dead man as
Pietro Venucci, a cutthroat with extensive Mafia connections.
Lestrade was fairly giddy with success.
"If you will come with me to Chiswick tonight, Lestrade, I'll promise
to go to the Italian Quarter with you tomorrow," my friend suggested
with his stunning air of breathless refinement. "You'll dine
us, Lestrade, and then you are welcome to the sofa until it is time for
us to start."
That night is the reason I wanted to set it all down. Before
forget any of it, and how utterly perfect it was. What
the following day was beautiful in its way, but I still believe that it
was the evening the three of us spent together that I shall recall to
my mind on the next occasion my friend is in agony, staring down at the
traffic below us with a freshly made hole in his sinewy forearm, and I
can do nothing about it save grieve and wait for him to want
At first, when Holmes went up to the lumber room to rummage through his
newspapers, Lestrade and I were left companionably to our own devices
and we played several games of cards. But then he came back
again, and dinner was served, and he spoke. Holmes spoke of
everything and nothing, of Medieval painting techniques and Chinese
syntax and the weapons of Aboriginal tribesmen, and poured the wine,
and distributed cigars, and then portioned out the sherry, and all in
all gave the finest performance of Sherlock Holmes as Sherlock Holmes I
had ever yet seen.
Lestrade did take the sofa. He is often up at five, poor man,
so was weary after our supper. But he was still fully aware
speaking with us, though he yawned occasionally, as Holmes curled up in
his armchair with his cherrywood pipe and sat I in my usual place with
a glass of brandy between my fingers.
"And it's a downright miracle she said yes," Lestrade finished
emphatically, referring to the recent engagement of young Stanley
Hopkins. "I can tell you what constituted the main of her
and it went along the lines of, 'Mr. Holmes, my dearest, seems to see
something in me. My darling, I wonder if I have ever
you that Mr. Holmes believes my rise through the ranks of the Force
will be a meteoric one. Mr. Holmes would tell you, my love,
I am a very promising individual. If only Mr. Holmes were
Miss Patterson, he would certainly endorse your accepting my hand in
marriage, and if you like I could easily settle the matter for you by
By then I was laughing so hard there were tears streaming from my
eyes. Holmes was smiling too, but the smile broadened when he
looked at me, and then he returned his grey eyes to the Inspector with
a soft sheen of simple gratitude. I was not the only one, it
seemed, grateful to the Inspector for cheering my partner.
"He convinced her at last by saying, 'If it would make you easier in
your mind, my precious lumpkin, I shall fetch Mr. Holmes round in
person, and then you would not only have the unparalleled honour of
meeting him, perhaps even speaking with him over tea cakes on the
subject of violent crime, but he would assure you in no uncertain terms
that to wed me would be a highly logical decision for you to make.'"
I was gasping for air, but could nevertheless see out of the corner of
my eye that Holmes had begun to laugh along with us in his odd silent
fashion, and heartily at that.
"We'll all have to put a brave face on it at the wedding," Lestrade
continued dourly. "It will be dreadfully painful, that much I
know. Hopkins will doubtless hire an assassin for the
so that he can have the privilege after exchanging vows of throwing
himself bodily in the path of a bullet for Mr. Holmes in a public
arena, and then dying in his arms."
Holmes snorted. "Lestrade, that is the foulest image you have
ever conjured for me. Do please be still."
"You'll be best man, of course, my dear fellow," I grinned, "and can
shoulder the task of finding him something borrowed and something blue."
"Don't be hideous, my boy," he advised me.
"And what about you, Lestrade?" I asked him, still smiling.
"How fares the lovely Miss Price?"
"I don't rightly know, Doctor," he said evenly, his eyes falling shut
as he yawned. "Pretty girl, but she took exception when
at the Yard dragged me off time and time again. And the funny
thing is, I can't imagine ever giving it up. Gregson was
of retirement the other day, a few years from now when the century
turns, and I swear to you I caught a cold chill just thinking about it."
"You are irrevocably wed to your vocation, then?" Holmes mused
"It isn't my fault, Mr. Holmes. If I found the one right
in all the world, that would change in a minute, I suppose, and I'd get
married. But I haven't. That sort of thing isn't
in this life, the way I see it. You're very lucky, you know."
Inspector Lestrade's bright eyes were closed, and his plain, honest,
narrow face expressionless save for being well-fed, contented, and
tired. It ought to have been a terrible catastrophe, the sort
instant one dreads for one's entire life--the spoken revelation that a
police inspector, of all people, knows that you are daily enacting a
sordid and punishable crime. I confess that a brief thrill of
fear went through me, even though it made no logical sense to be
frightened. I had known that he had known, after
was a visceral reaction, uncontrollable, and it cut through me and out
again almost before I could register its nonsensical basis.
then it was gone, and there was only the three of us, with the fire
crackling in the grate. Holmes contorted into a cozy ball on
armchair, I with my legs crossed, and Lestrade lying on our settee.
I looked over at my friend. The hand still holding his pipe
had frozen in place, but his eyes were calm.
"I do know," he said softly, bringing a lump to my throat. "I
know every day."
Lestrade was silent for a while, seeming quite peaceful with his slim
little hands folded over his neat waistcoat. And then,
opening his eyes, he said, "Let us all pray that Miss Patterson, when
she becomes Mrs. Hopkins, will prove as perfectly matched a spouse, so
that we can all get a little relief. I swear to you, Mr.
if I hear your name out of all context on one more occasion, whether
it's how you take your tea or how you solved the murder of Black Peter
or what your shirt size is likely to be, I am going to put someone's
head through a window. You can deduce, I think, to whose head
The four-wheeler was at the door at eleven, and in it we drove to a
spot on the other side of Hammersmith Bridge, in the friendliest
silence I have ever experienced. Our vigil crouched against
wooden fence of Laburnum Villa, which might have been a long and
difficult one, lasted but half an hour. Then the garden gate
swung open, and a lithe, active, ugly figure rushed up the path.
"Let us get to the open window," Lestrade whispered, his tone vibrating
with the thrill of the chase. But our quarry was already out
the house again in another instant, looking stealthily around him,
carrying something white under his arm.
Silent as jungle predators, the three of us crept across the lawn
toward him. We knew our business. We were
ones who knew each other to the core and would have fought for each
other tooth and nail, the same feeling I had experienced upon the
battle plains of Afghanistan as I tried my utmost to save the lives of
my friends. With the bound of an airborne tiger Holmes was on
back, and like a choreographed dance Lestrade and I had him by the arms
an instant later and the handcuffs had been fastened. It was
beauty in action, poetry in crimesolving. Holmes had directed
attention to the bust of Napoleon an instant later, but that did not
diminish our glow of concerted triumph in the slightest.
Later, at the Yard, we learned that a search of our prisoner had
revealed very little, but Holmes mysteriously promised Lestrade that
more details would be forthcoming the following day if he would come
round to see us. Lestrade frankly confessed he did not
how Holmes had known where to look for our prey, but he vowed to be at
Baker Street at six the next evening. Then Holmes offered me
arm. I took it, happily wearied by the night, and we left the
Yard to seek out a cab.
"How do you suppose he knew?" Holmes asked me when we were alone
again--in bed, with the dawn rising and the curtains pulled shut.
I was running my fingers softly through his hair. "To be
my love, it would be difficult for a man in Lestrade's position not to
know. You verbally mark me as your own private property
thirty times an hour. He would have to have been very
unobservant, for a police inspector, not to have noticed."
"No, not that I love you," he drawled. "That would be
obvious to a blind, deaf asylum escapee. How did he know that
Hopkins used my name when he proposed to Miss Patterson? Did
Hopkins tell him about it, or was he there? It seems a
sort of knowledge to have, as they aren't close."
"You're utterly incorrigible," I whispered to him. "But
luckily, I love you too."
"I'm the luckiest man in the world," he murmured. "I know
it. Not a day goes by that I don't. When are you
punish me for not eating, by the way? You can't promise that
of thing to a fellow and then fail to follow through."
"Later," I replied. "When you've nearly forgotten about it,
it comes as a surprise, and I have had time for extensive planning."
He was cradled on my chest, so I could feel it when he started to
laugh. "This is beginning to sound a far severer
the flesh than I had at first anticipated."
"Let me put it to you this way. When once I am through with
you, you will be longing for a hearty meal."
So he does think himself lucky, and I have Geoffrey Lestrade to thank
for the fact that now I know it too. There have been times in
life, times when I have found him flat on the bed with his sleeve
rolled up and his arm bleeding, or silent as the grave for days on end,
or simply cowed almost to tears by all the miseries than his own mind
inflicts upon him, that I would have been desperately grateful to know
he thought himself lucky in any way. People who think
lucky need not be warned against killing themselves. And
from that inevitable, sickening thought, there is no torture that could
possibly be worse in this world than seeing him suffer--standing there
helpless, simply loving him, while he all but drowns. But
thanks to Lestrade, I am aware that he considers himself lucky in spite
That is a remarkably beautiful gift.
The next day, Sherlock Holmes introduced Inspector Lestrade and myself
to the black pearl of the Borgias. Sherlock Holmes was
the starring role of Sherlock Holmes again, and we were his rapt
admirers. In an unplanned moment of heartfelt delight, we
simultaneously into a round of applause. A flush of colour
brightened his cheeks, and then he bowed to us as if it was the
well-wrought crisis of a play, because it was exactly that to
him. He was the master dramatist, being Sherlock Holmes was
life's work, and he needed Lestrade and me to make it all fit
together. Without the audience, the actor languishes and
Geoffrey Lestrade when he is watching Sherlock Holmes be amazing is a
sight to see. His thin lips open in a gasp, his half-closed
drifts knuckles-first toward his mouth, and his cheeks brighten until
they are nearly as brilliant as his eyes. Then he begins
a little, and clapping his petite hands in admiration. He had
never done it so well and so heartily, and I loved him for
Then he went up and caught my friend by the sleeve.
"We're not jealous of you at Scotland Yard," he said urgently, his
brown eyes staring like arrows into my friend's grey ones.
sir, we are very proud of you, and if you come down tomorrow, there's
not a man, from the oldest inspector to the youngest constable, who
wouldn't be glad to shake you by the hand. But of all them,
young and old, I am the lucky one to have the honour of working with
you. I'm very lucky indeed to call you a friend, Mr. Holmes,
I assure you that I know it every day."
Sherlock Holmes, looking down at our friend the Inspector, stopped
playing Sherlock Holmes and commenced being Sherlock Holmes.
had little choice, after all, for he was more moved by the softer
emotions in front of anyone save myself than I had ever seen
For a single moment he was entirely human, a man and not our idol, a
member of a family and not the deity to whom Lestrade and I brought our
finest offerings, a loved one and not a sad, distant god who performed
tricks and bestowed fire. He was my husband, and Lestrade's
"Thank you," he said hoarsely. And then, because it had not
sounded right to his ears in the slightest to have spoken as his true
self, "Thank you."