July 1, 1881
Halloa, this is a monumental night indeed! After three months without it (though granted, I cannot say I was missing it terribly), I finally located this scribble-book. It had fallen behind my desk, and I only just discovered it when we were forced into a rather speedy move of the furniture because of my accidentally setting the curtains afire. (Enter Panic in the form of an affronted landlady.)
Mrs. Hudson was not happy that I was more animated about locating the book – not out of some repulsive schoolgirlish desire to maintain a diary, but more because that meant the Doctor had not discovered it and been sneaking peeks at it – than I was remorseful about the burnt drapes, but I have no doubt the woman shall eventually forgive my apparently Unforgivable Transgression.
How was I to know the match I dropped on the newspapers was still smoking? I was discussing this Breston robbery with Watson, and therefore not paying attention to trifling matters. Surely my (admittedly rare) attempts at civil conversation would warrant a bit of absolution for my absent-mindedness? This is the thanks I receive for going out of my way to converse with my fellow man. Honestly.
All the same, I should have been more prudent to wait until after dinner for the experiment in patience-stretching, as neither I nor the Doctor like burnt pudding. Now he is annoyed with me as well as with the formidable woman downstairs, who is in turn irritated with my supposed carelessness, which then floods me with frustration aimed at the world in general; circulus vitiosus.
As the Doctor has been a bit under the weather in this heat wave as it is, further provocation of his short temper was not an overly intelligent move on my part. Bull-pups may be small but they can still gnaw a man's ankle to shreds; I should know.
One would think that I should have learnt more discretion by now, after nearly six months of adapting to having another person about continuously, but Mycroft always did allege that I was a slow learner in anything other than mathematics and chemistry. Not so; I merely believe in methodically taking my time while applying myself to something, to decide if said something is truly worth learning completely, and more importantly worth allowing to occupy valuable space in my orderly brain-attic.
This puzzling little problem of companionship, I am yet ambivalent about.
Which, unfortunately, could pose a problem, as in six days we shall come to something of a smallish crisis. When I first embarked upon a quest for a flat-mate and located this chap I have come to live with at present, we agreed upon six months of testing the waters of arrangements (frankly I did not expect him to tolerate me more than a sennight, and am still puzzled by his evident fascination with me and his fountain of patience that no caustic sponge I wield seems to be able to soak dry).
That six months expires next Thursday, and he has said a conspicuous nothing about the matter of renewing the lease upon the flat. Or of dropping said lease, for that matter, though I would certainly hope he would leave me with no fair warning like that for the entirety of the rent.
I would think he has forgotten the dates, were it not for the fact that the fellow has one of the most brilliant memories I have ever come across. He cannot deduce worth anything, it is quite true – but he can certainly observe and recall, and the quality has been valuable more than once to me already since I have known him.
But I digress – the point is, I cannot decide if he has forgotten the fact of the lease's expiration, or if he merely does not wish to discuss the affair for some unfathomable reason (and I certainly am not about to bring the matter up, thank you very much). I am well aware that he has been working steadily at various hospitals and practices about the capital, building a rapport with medicos in the field and saving money for when his pension will begin to taper; but whether his plans include staying on here or departing for greener pastures I have yet to ascertain, for all my powers.
One of his more disconcerting qualities – I cannot sound his depths despite all my best efforts unless he permits me to do so. I am yet in doubt whether to be fascinated by the fact or frustrated to the point of informing him he is coming close to pushing me over the already-too-close line of insanity due to his infernal infuriation of my orderly mind.
But enough of the melodrama. In other news, London is sweltering in a heat wave, the like of which I hope to never endure again; the type of humid, blistering temperature that can fairly boil a man alive in his sleep and burn anyone of less-than-tanned skin within moments of stepping out onto the pavement. I am quite glad for my hat-brims, as I am pale by nature and do not appear at all dignified with a conspicuously scaly, scarlet nose.
Whether the sauna is driving the London criminal underground to cool damp cellars for latent counterfeiting, or if it is simply melting the evil-doers into so many dried-up puddles of boring humanity, I have no idea – but either way, the city is as dull and lifeless as it is during the rainy season, when all men are good for is to stand about in front of picture-windows, glaring at the world and talking aimlessly about societal inanities over their cigars and cognac. Bah.
It has been over a week since a crime of any consequence was committed, and only this last robbery of the morning's florid gutter-press showed any points of interest – and those precious few; even Gregson could see through the nobleman's bluff regarding his supposedly "stolen" emerald-studded opera-glasses.
I must say, despite my repugnance of the country, it would be jolly decent of Fate to bring me a client who lived in the North, or in Brighton…or Ireland…or for that matter Iceland – anywhere less torrid than London is at the moment. All that smiling, potentially explosive countryside, and no tragedy has decided to strike with the advantage of a sleepy, complacent populace melting of heatstroke. What better opportunity is the English criminal waiting for to begin wreaking his havoc, Armageddon?
The world would be in more danger than any double agent has ever caused for my brother, were I to turn my talents toward crime rather than detection. Granted, my profession would lose its most brilliant practitioner, and the mantle of scientific deduction would fall into the incapable hands of these poor mortals, but then again the price one pays for bel esprit in any field carries with it its own necessary sacrifices.
Ah, it sounds as if Watson has succeeded in calming Mrs. Hudson; bless the dear chap, I wonder if he has managed to inveigle a less-than-crispy pudding for us?