Holmes came in, in one great shake shedding his overcoat, stick, hat, scarf, and gloves onto Master’s arms, and began to thread his way through the tables towards me. His bones were aching, I thought as I watched him approach, and when he came closer, the contrast between my mood and the gaunt grey exhaustion carved into his face hit me like a slap.
“Holmes,” I blurted out, “you look dreadful.” “I am sorry, Russell, that my appearance offends,” he said dryly. “I did stop to shave and change my shirt.” “No, it’s not that; you look fine. Just…quiet,” I said inadequately. Only profound exhaustion, not just physical but spiritual, could so dim the normal nervous hum of the man’s movements and voice. “Ah, well, we cannot have that. I shall assume an air of raucous and disruptive behaviour, if it makes you happy. However, I should like to eat first, if I may?” I felt reassured. If he could be rude, he was reviving.