- For those unfamiliar with the Granada episode, the big difference between it and the story is that in the episode Holmes has Watson stand guard at Three Gables instead of Mrs. Maberley's lawyer, Mr. Sutro. While guarding the house, it is Watson (not Mr. Sutro) who gets attacked although Mrs. Maberley gets chloroformed in both versions.
- The title comes from a line in the Granada episode, when Mrs. Klein asks Holmes why he would take away her chance at happiness and Holmes replies because she is . . .
A DESTROYER OF MEN
I should not have left Watson to face them alone.
He has brushed off my concern as brusquely as it was offered, but I know he is in pain. He hides it well when he knows I am watching. Watson has come to know me almost as well as I know him and so it is not easy to catch him unawares. His movements are only a bit slower and more cautious, his voice carefully steadied and strong. The dressings on his hand and head he changes in solitude. The only reason I know he takes any painkillers (however minimal) is because his energy flags with fair regularity every four or five hours, hide it as he does.
I have seen him with his guard down only twice since returning to Baker Street. Both times, when he believed himself unobserved, I was struck by how tired and injured he looked. However, as his bruises fade, I fear there is another source of pain, one I dare not broach.
He feels he failed me.
I charged him with the safety of Mrs. Maberley, to guard and protect her and her home. That he was attacked – "brutally," as Mrs. Hudson put it – is of secondary importance. Still a soldier to the core, he feels he had a duty and that duty was not carried out. That is a blow far more painful and lasting than the black eye.
So too is the acknowledgment of his age. Though we are both athletic to a point in our own ways, neither of us will see our forties again. I myself was very nearly overcome by Steve Dixie at the beginning of this case and he was but one man. Barney Stockdale had at least one accomplice at Three Gables.
The fault is mine. Was I so foolish as to believe a burglary attempt was but a possibility and not a certainty, knowing what I did of the sort of men in Mrs. Klein's employment? Such a mistake is inexcusable in my line of work. Mrs. Maberley was my client; I should have protected her. She ought to have found refuge elsewhere while I stayed at Three Gables, with Watson, in anticipation of the break-in.
It was I who failed, not Watson, yet I hesitate to confess my culpability. In this partnership, I am not the man of letters. I do not want him to interpret my words as mere placations, or worse, as remonstrations for incompetence.
I believe, in this case, actions may speak volumes more than words. A number of petty problems have come my way, ones that portend no foreseeable violence. I shall wait another day or so and then see if Watson is game for another, preferably more mild, adventure.