A. N. Today's prompt comes from Ennui Enigma dearest: 1895. Hope it is satisfactory!
All year round
New year, new life...old life? A few years back, I expected to find myself in a completely different setting today. With Mary, at least a couple of children, a flourishing practice (and why wouldn't it?)...Instead, I've lost my dear, am childless (thank God for that: this is no place for a baby), and willingly sold the practice (the only thing which seemed prone to follow my predictions). And yet, even if I am apparently back at square one, I discover that I'm happier that I've been in years.
A most busy month, for the both of us. Crime and viruses happily spread, but we managed to contain them. Next time Holmes finds himself restless for lack of a case, I must suggest he study the possibility of a correlation between health and villainous threats. They seem to like the same conditions, after all.
A most weird crime this month, though one my friend did not need to be consulted for. In Ireland, a man killed his wife believing her to be a fairy changeling. It was pointed out to me by Doyle at the club – the man likes all that fairy and generally fairytale-like fad of nowadays. When I went back home, Holmes was ready to comment on it, bemoaning the loss of common sense – one does not dare ask for logic – between the criminals.
Exactly one year since I have him back. Miracles do happen. It's weird. I know now – I knew from the day he made me faint like a girl – that it was no miracle. A trick, a plan, a call-it-how-you-like, but no impossible or praeternatural feat. I still can't shake the word off from my brain and the feeling from my soul, though.
"British law is still far from perfect" was Holmes' comment to Wilde's conviction, at the end of a much rumored trial – trials, to be correct.
"Is it?" I queried.
"The man's supposed victims weren't complaining, from what I understood. And it is a sorry state that sins should be counted as criminal offences. What if envy got people two years in prison too? How many of Wilde's prosecutors would go free?" he replied.
"It is sound reasoning" I admitted, smiling.
"You, Watson, would make a better jury on your own than all these petty, easily outraged idiots" Holmes praised me. And of course, I blushed.
A rainy day can have the weirdest implications. I'm ascribing my somehow morbid mood to the weather – I wouldn't want to be catching Holmes' mood swings. It started with only a couple of lines on the newspaper which gave notice of the death of a Swedish young man, Gustaf Nordenskiöld, whose best feat was an exploration of the American Far West. I read them with barely a thought for the poor man. Before I could go on to more appealing news, however, a thought froze me: in years past I would have disregarded – I had, though not as grievous – news of another North European explorer... I got back to the paragraph and spared a sympathetic thought for Nordenskiöld and his family, whoever they were.
I've never liked this month, not since the disaster fifteen years ago. Some things just stay with us, I guess. I've never complained about it, either. It felt pointless, and a bit more pitiful than I was willing to show myself. It's at times like these anyone would feel really thankful towards Holmes – and towards God for having us meet. It could be mere chance that he feels like taking up the violin more often, or that his melodies are on the sweet, soothing side instead of a wild tune. I know better.
I would suspect Mycroft of having a hand – or a say – in this if Occam's razor did not try to stop me. Otherwise, why should it happen in a month – at least this year – so spectacularly lacking in interesting cases? Of course, it helps the theatre's finances too. But that Queen's Hall should organize, for the first time, the Promenade Concerts – at a very reasonable price for even the both of us to attend– looks just too convenient for it to be a chance.
"Do say whatever is on your mind, Watson; I won't bite" Holmes encourages me. Of course, I've been biting my lips – I don't want to be misinterpreted.
"It's not what you may think it is, but...Norbury, Holmes" I reply.
He comes to loom over me to take a look at the newspaper. "Of course" he agrees "Booker Washington's attempt at compromise. Black people do not ask for equality and receive in exchange a chance at education and 'due process', if we can believe him. Announced at his speech in Atalanta. Well, we know Atalanta has seen much better behaviour on the matter – England too".
Best thing happened this month? We had been invited to Diogenes club. "Sometimes it feels like the people present here are the only one with a functioning brain" Mycroft said – probably forgetting my presence, I told myself.
"The Empress of Korea gets killed, and the supposed culprits are acquitted for lack of evidence. All fifty-six of them" he explained. Sherlock's only comment was a snort.
"And they're requesting you now" the eldest Holmes announced.
"Do make my excuses, Mycroft. I'm a detective, not a wizard. I can't produce evidence they've clearly destroyed already" Sherlock replied. Mycroft just nodded, and I felt unreasonably happy because my friend wasn't going anywhere.
When I met Stamford, he was in a pensive mood. "I've been thinking, Watson – it would be interesting if Wells' time machine really existed, wouldn't it?" he wondered.
"It certainly would" I agreed. "What would you do with it?" I asked, with a preemptive strike. I did not want to have to answer that same question. I had all too many painful things in my past I'd like to change if I could. And yet, given the opportunity I would most probably not use the contraption – too scared my good meaning interferences could end up making it all worse.
"I'd tell myself to choose an higher paying career" Stamford answered with a smile.
"That would a problem for me, you know" I countered "since we wouldn't meet that way". Stamford took it as a kindness towards himself. He didn't realize he would be changing the one thing I absolutely wanted to stay.
Doyle's Christmas gift is rubbish. Not that I expected otherwise. A book – of course – and with a completely misleading title to boot. "The lost Stradivarius", indeed. Only it isn't lost, it's found – and it ruins the poor unfortunate soul who does. The violin is haunted by its precedent owner, apparently. I suppose Meade Falkner isn't so bad an author, if one loves this kind of literature. I don't, though. The only good thing I get from it is the mad laugh when I imagine Holmes' ghost haunting – in a far, far, far away future – his priced possession and trying to get a poor boy to take up the science of deduction.
P.S. FYI, Occam's razor is a principle stating that among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be selected. I thought 1895 was just "first year after Hiatus", then I researched and...everything happened that year!
Wells' Time Machine was published in May, but I had better things to talk about for that month. And I needed something for November...