Happy Birthday, Mr. Holmes!

From the final pages of my book:

That was January 6, 1904. Twelfth Night, the Day of Epiphany, and, coincidentally, my 50th birthday. Monsieur Chartrain did not know this—he had no reason to. Even I, myself, was only reminded of it by the gift. I had never subscribed to the sentimentality of birthday celebrations, but the passing of such a significant milestone made me pause to consider what I had achieved in a half century.
I picked up my new violin and paced in front of the fire tuning it. I tried playing fast and furiously but couldn’t get the piece quite right and nearly threw down the instrument in frustration. I sat in my chair and put my head in my hands.
Just then, there was a knock at the door. Watson let himself in, bearing a bottle of fine French wine as a birthday gift and announcing his determination to continue our piano lessons. This cheered me considerably and as he played along with my violin in harmonious synchronicity, I felt a bond of joy flowing between us that made even my greatest self-doubts disappear. Although he may never know it, if there is one thing Watson contributed to my life, it was the understanding of what it is to love and be loved.
Now, well into the latter part of my life and the early part of a new century, I have felt occasionally like an anachronism. This is to be a world in which the machine features prominently, and mechanical prowess valued over intellectual industry. Every year it seems the innovations of technology continue to proliferate at an amazing rate. In 1903, man actually mastered flight. Even the mind itself is the subject of analytic dissection. How odd it is not to look up as always and see my old portrait of Victoria Regina on the wall. Women are finally realizing they deserve more personal and professional power, but society has a long way to go before it levels the playing field. And I am no campaigner. I am, as always, a lone wolf—self-centred and fiercely independent.

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