I was grateful that Watson conceded to my wishes so easily and grateful too that he so characteristically understood I desired quiet in which to think. It is quite true that he was perfectly capable to tending to Mr. Rucastle and it was equally true that I was dead set against him doing so more than he already had. Now I had but to understand my own motives.
My initial dislike of Rucastle in the abstract had, upon meeting him, deepened into a visceral loathing, as one might regard a vile, bloated beetle crawling about in its muck and slime. Yet there was no real crime that he had committed as far as the law was concerned.
How strange that I was inclined to show mercy to certain true criminals – James Ryder and Jack Turner sprang readily to mind, a thief and a murderer, respectively – and yet this Rucastle had such an effect upon me that it bordered on mania. I realized I had reached a new level when I hated the man for even dirtying Watson's hands with his unworthy blood.
What, then, made this case different?
I am not an admirer of the fairer sex as far as romance goes but I flatter myself that I still retain chivalrous tendencies. A young woman alone in the world and in need of aid, above all others, has need for a gentleman. And a man who would take advantage of a woman, who would mistreat her and cause her harm, is no man at all but a fiend of the first water.
Rucastle tried to harm two women, one of whom was his own daughter.
I felt my hands ball up at the thought. Dr. Grimesby Roylott had done a similar thing; I still felt no remorse or guilt when I thought of the manner of his death and my humble role in bringing it about. I could not conceive of a more fitting end for such a man.
Perhaps I had seen this case as a parallel, unconsciously expecting that brute of a dog to put an end to his despicable master . . . until Watson intervened with his foolish heroics. I was not angry that he had saved Rucastle, not really. What galled me was that he had put his own infinitely more valuable life at risk to do so and had worried his fine sensibilities over leaving Rucastle in the hands of another surgeon. I could not allow my friend to waste any more of his time or talents on that fiend.
I did not even like to hear Watson speak of his compulsion to save Rucastle. I had said I understood; I had lied. I did not understand what could have prompted him to think it was his place to interrupt an act of poetic justice. But then, perhaps I should make allowances for Watson's altruism. I had known before we even arrived at Copper Beeches what was afoot while Watson learned the truth of the matter from Mrs. Toller subsequent to the attack.
On further reflection, I cannot but think it would not have made a difference to Watson. He still would have strode forward and put a bullet into the mastiff's brain. Such an act is indicative of an intrinsic part of his nature
And that was something else altogether to ponder.