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From the Mixed-up Files of Aiba Masaki, (Amateur) Detective

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ADDENDUM

 

To whom it may concern:

Introductions often prove frivolous and even irritating to the common reader, but this work seems in particular need of an introduction; while this admirable account provides a first-hand and intelligent description of the events surrounding the passage of Lord Ninomiya Kazunari’s reform bill, every reader will acknowledge that this account (never seriously intended for publication by its writer) leaves many questions unanswered.

Therefore, I, Professor and current Member of Parliament Sakurai Sho, write with a twofold purpose: to assure the reader of the veracity of this account, and to resolve those queries that the reader may be left with upon finishing this work.

I must again note that this account was originally written for a private audience, to be circulated only amongst friends, and that its writer had no intention of making it available to a wider public. It was only after the enthusiastic pleading of his circle of acquaintances that the good doctor agreed to make these events known to the world, and thus a comprehensive editing of the original work was required. In addition to this significant editing of the narrative, the reader must also consider that the process of its composition was highly irregular, with the first sections of this book written after the latter. If the reader detects any fault in the work’s timeline of events, he might take into consideration its unusual conditions of production.

Admittedly, the account is colorful, but I believe the reader will ultimately agree that it is the very emotional nature of this work that renders it so interesting. While liberties may be taken in the depiction of certain individuals—those portraits naturally coloured by the author’s immediate feelings towards them—the events themselves are matters of absolute fact and (in many cases) of public record.

For the truth of these events, the reader may appeal to myself, as well as to Lord Toma and Lord Nakai, as well as to Miss Horikita Maki (a respectable maid known for her good character) and police Constable Hatori. Doctor Matsumoto Jun and Professor Aiba Masaki are gentleman of absolute integrity, and they are ready to respond to any questions or corrections the reader may present.

I believe the value of this narrative lies in its revelation of the extraordinary actions that ultimately led to the passage this year of the Poor Mothers’ reform bill; Dr. Matsumoto witnessed the original, more comprehensive bill’s failure under Lord Kazunari’s tenure, but, in spite of the scandals that accompanied that gentlemen, the true value of the legislation insured its eventual passage. Public sentiment had been activated; political forces were at work; Lord Toma and myself headed efforts to pass a narrower but still significant bill that would provide care for the impoverished women and children of this city. But Lord Kazunari’s original, extraordinary efforts should not be forgotten, and I would encourage the reader to temper judgment of his lordship’s deceptions with their knowledge of the sincerely philanthropic aims of his lordship.

It should also be of interest to the reader to know that Lady Riisa Kazunari has continued her brother’s good work; after his lordship’s renunciation of his fortune, Lady Riisa has used her newly-acquired wealth to establish a home and medical clinic in the neighborhood of St. Giles, where she lives and works with Madame Becky, who is now known for her charitable work as much as for her fame on the stage. If any find their hearts moved by this account, the good ladies would be happy to show them how they may help the poorest of our city.

The diamond, if the reader insists on knowing its fate, was sold; its profits were used to build the clinic and new housing. Miss Kuroki Meisa (as is well known) was sentenced to transportation to Australia, where she gave birth to her child; Lord Akanishi, after serving a brief jail sentence and finding himself cast out by his family, followed her to that continent. Nothing more is known of the villainous pair, at least to this writer.

Leaving his life as an amateur detective, Professor Masaki returned to the university. However, he continues to practice as an amateur in the field of finding and rescuing lost and stolen pets; the detective urges me to write that should any reader require his assistance in the matter of a pet, that he should apply to No. 5, Garden Place. Doctor Matsumoto continues his practice in London.

What more is there that can be said? My own political career is a matter of public record; and now this private record will illuminate those fatal errors and passions that have characterized my relation to the detective, in whose life—it pains me to admit—I have ultimately played only a supporting role.

Professor Sakurai Sho
November 15, 1892

 

To the future readers of this complete work:

The distinguished professor (now MP Sakurai), at Aiba’s request, has written the official introduction; but I find myself so disgusted by the work being offered for publication that I must insist on adding my own introduction to these already chaotic and overstuffed files. Our readers have been duped; the Adventures of (Amateur) Detective Aiba Masaki are presented to the public stripped of the love affair between Jun and the detective; of the relationship between Rebecca and my sister; and carefully divested of all particularly incriminating details pertaining to myself i.e. my relationship with Satoshi and the murder of my assassin (sadly, both would be classed as “crimes” by most contemporary readers)

In short, readers: all that is truly interesting and worthwhile in the book has been lost to the demands of reputation and propriety.

I write this introduction—this true introduction—in hopes that the future will see the publication in entirety of Jun’s files; more remarkable than any political significance is this book’s portrait of the sincere love that may exist between persons, and of the highly-entertaining course of his own courtship of the bumbling detective. Jun would agree with me that his (admittedly absurd and unfathomable) love for the detective is the best part of himself; readers will never truly understand these two men until their growing affection assumes its rightful place as the centerpiece of this narrative. I do not doubt that the particularly intelligent or discerning reader may “read between the lines” (and perhaps underneath them) to recognize the real nature of the relationship between this amateur Holmes and Watson—but all of those poignant details, so feelingly recorded by the doctor, will remain inaccessible to the contemporary reader

Though even I am denied access to these files in their entirety—Jun still refuses to share with me particular chapters of this work, chapters now kept in a safe in Jun’s office (In truth, reader, I do not doubt that these files will eventually find their way into my hands, but only so that I may insert them into their rightful place in this account and insure its completeness)

I toast you, future readers of this unabridged account! You live in a time and place more enlightened and generous than our own (though I challenge you, whether it be more brave or more loving—it is my wish that it should be, but I have my doubts).

Enlightened readers, I reward you with my own keen impressions of the individuals represented herein. I affirm that Jun’s portrait of Aiba is admirable; I concur in all his observations upon the detective’s person and upon his kind, courageous nature (though, of course, I must admit to finding it a fairly sopping portrait of Aiba’s appearance and manners—it is written through the eyes of love, we must remember)

But there are two individuals in this account who have received, I think, insufficient development, and whose portrayal I generously take it upon myself to supplement: the doctor himself, and that inimitable artist and valet, Ohno Satoshi.

The reader can naturally guess at my gratitude and affection for the doctor; as this story reveals, he saved both my own life and the life of my dearest friend (indeed, I shudder to imagine a life without our detective—how could a man atone for such a crime? How could I have lived in the knowledge of receiving such an undeserved sacrifice?). But I would like to reaffirm the doctor’s remarkable character. I met him, it is true, under the unusual circumstances of a stolen top hat and my own near death, but even then I recognized that I was in the presence of a haunted man. The doctor was handsome and fashionable, yes, scrupulous in his manners and language, always calm and reasonable in his conversation—but beneath that controlled surface was a man passionate, angry, and thoroughly sick of himself, chafing under some burden of memory. Aiba has never been able to resist the plaintive look of a wounded animal, and our doctor proved no exception, immediately inspiring Aiba’s sincere compassion and then—after further acquaintance with his excellent character—the detective’s devoted love

I can liken Jun’s transformation under Aiba’s care only to delicate petals slowly unfurling to reveal the full beauty of the flower (though I do not doubt that I should be shot for the metaphor if this introduction should come under Jun’s scrutiny). Most of all, I believe that Jun and Aiba share a tendency toward what I would deem excessive sincerity and uprightness—Jun because he demands so much of himself, Aiba because he can only with difficulty imagine, let alone partake in, less-than-honorable behavior. This shared trait, I think, renders two such apparently different men natural and agreeable companions.

I affirm that the detective would have died that day—indeed, we were all in expectation of his death, thinking then not of a doctor but of how we should take his body away from the street—without the doctor’s skill and determination. It should also be noted that, in caring for the detective that day, Jun severely re-injured his leg and spent months after in an intense pain of which he never complained. While it unpleasantly humbles me to record acts that so outshine my own sensational history of philanthropy, I must also write that Jun devoted himself to the care of the poor during the outbreak of influenza in our city, saving many lives, and that he continues to this day to care for the poor in addition to his more affluent patients, demanding nothing in return and never drawing attention to his selfless works.

This glowing account of the doctor naturally brings me to the matter of that other great hero of these adventures, Satoshi. I owe my life and the detective’s to Satoshi’s care, and it was Satoshi who tended to our doctor through that terrible fever that struck him down for several days during the epidemic. Satoshi is the kindest, gentlest, most talented and capable of men, and I anticipate that future generations will recognize the brilliance of his work, which goes so far beyond the current bounds of artistic practice as to belong only to the class of genius. This quiet valet is the most truly unemployable man I have ever met—never before or since have I known an individual for whom wealth or fame held so little appeal

He is also the most frustratingly, persistently, unbearably, and immovably stubborn man I have ever known, particularly in his refusal to recognize his own worth—it is only by abandoning my position and placing myself entirely in his power that I have been able to convince him of the intensity and constancy of my love, and of my determination to accompany him throughout his life.

I know I am no easy charge for a man to take on—but I absolve myself in the knowledge that none can appreciate Satoshi’s goodness to the extent that I can, having seen so many proofs of it in his (at times infuriating, but always well-intentioned) behavior towards myself.

After much wandering through our labyrinthine city, I have found my true home. I leave it to the reader to imagine with what happiness I get on at No. 5, Garden Place, living as I do amongst an ill-tempered parrot, a malicious cat, a half-witted professor, a sentimental doctor, and an eminently-superior valet of astonishing artistic talent.

Nino, Christmas Day, 1892

 

For Dr. Matsumoto Jun:

I have been asked by the doctor to provide an account of the day his lordship came to us. I thought it would be better to have the doctor, or Mr. Aiba, or his lordship write it, as they are all very practiced at writing. But the doctor insists that I should write it. He says that it is my story to tell. I think Mr. Aiba would like to read it, so I have agreed—it is hard to refuse anything that would give him pleasure just now, when he is so lately recovered from his illness.

I am not an educated man, so I can only put down in plain words what happened that morning.

It was January 2nd of 1890. It was cold but bright. When I woke, sunlight lit up the white curtains from the outside so that they glowed yellow. Small specks of dust glittered in the air. I woke early, an hour before breakfast. I went to my wash basin to shave. The cold water raised the hair on the back of my arms. I was halfway through shaving, and there was still lather on my face when I heard a rapid knocking at my door.

I knew the knock to be Mr. Aiba’s because of its rapid beat. The doctor’s knock is more measured. “Come in,” I said.

Mr. Aiba came into the room. His eyes were very bright, even brighter than the sunlit curtains. I watched his reflection in my mirror. His hands moved about restlessly as he spoke, “Ohno, there is someone come to see you.”

“Will you let him in and tell him I will be out soon?” I asked, dipping my razor into the basin. I watched the remains of the white lather swirl and float to the top of the cloudy water. My clean razor caught a ray of sunlight coming in from between the curtains, and it shone.

Mr. Aiba was still agitated, and from the thickness of his voice—his voice is sometimes like cotton wool, or a piece of flannel crumpled up in a work basket—I knew he was near tears, “I am afraid he insists on seeing you, Ohno. He says he will not enter the house until you open the door to him.”

I placed my razor to the side and, in my absence of my mind as I wondered who the visitor could be, I placed my wash cloth across my left shoulder. Half of my face was still unshaved. I followed Mr. Aiba out of the room and to the front door. Mr. Aiba disappeared. I do not know where he went.

When I touched the brass knob with my hand, I noticed that my hand was shaking. I thought it was from the coldness of the metal.

When I opened the door, I saw his lordship standing before me. At first I was not surprised or alarmed in any way. If there is some strangeness or mischief that concerns me, his lordship is usually the cause.

But then I took in the appearance of his lordship. He was not wearing his usual clothes, though I thought I recognized his linen shirt and black overcoat. But neither was he wearing the rags that he put on to wander about the streets. There was a leather bag sitting beside him

I recall that what surprised me most was that he did not wear a hat or scarf. It was a cold winter morning, but I could see the lines of his white neck, and I could see his black hair moving about in the icy breeze. I have read in the doctor’s work that he sometimes feels as though his breath leaves him when he looks at Mr. Aiba—that is the expression I would use here. My breath left me when I looked at him.

His lordship’s hands were in his pockets, but I knew that his hands were bare and clenched. I felt as though I could see all of his lordship, as though he were standing naked in front of me.

I grew more agitated as his lordship continued to stand there, his dark eyes looking at me sadly—he looked as though he were frightened but trying to hide his fear.

“What has brought you here, Kazu?” I said.

His lordship’s voice was like Madame Becky’s eyes. It was clear, but I could not understand it’s expression, and it pierced through me like a knife. “It is all gone, Satoshi. Everything. I have nothing now but the clothes on my back and this baggage. Will you take me in?” His lordship’s eyes were so large and black, and they looked at me with an expression of pleading. I noticed the light blue vein that runs along the left side of his neck, and that the tips of his ears were red. I wanted to see the white line of his teeth and his pale gums: his smile. I wanted to button myself inside his overcoat.

I must have become dizzy because I fell to my knees. Then I was inside his lordship’s overcoat as he stepped forward and hid me against him with it. In the warm, rough darkness, I could put my head against his soft stomach and feel the quickening of his ribs as they rose and fell. He was breathing very fast. I pressed my nose against his side, just where his scar would be. His lordship smelled like a bakery early in the morning, when the baker’s hands are still moving through the flour on the table.

I stood up and took his lordship’s hand. “Come in,” I said, “Help me finish shaving.” His lordship’s hand clasped mine so tightly that I knew his knuckles would turn white and red. When I looked back, his face was wet, but I saw his smile. I wanted to run my tongue across his teeth and bite his lip. I wanted to hold his face against my neck. I wanted to press my face against his shirt again and wrap my arms about his waist.

He wiped my nose with his sleeve. The wool scratched my nose, and it recalled to me when I was a child and my grandfather would do the same as we walked along the street.

His lordship has resided with me in Garden Place ever since. I do not deserve his lordship making such a sacrifice, but I believe him when he says that he is happier here, and I am finally content because now he is with me always.

 

The doctor has read over my account, and he says that he is puzzled. He would like me to write his opinion to the reader. He would like to say to the reader that in case it is not evident from my account, my meeting with his lordship that day was truly one of the most touching scenes he has ever witnessed in the course of his life.

Mr. Aiba says that he thinks the reader may understand even without the doctor’s words.

Ohno Satoshi, February 14th, 1892

 

To any intrepid detective who has the pleasure of uncovering this hidden document (Jun, you may also read what follows):

This morning found me on the floor of Jun’s office, examining the papers he keeps in the wooden box beneath his desk. While Nino believes that the original manuscript is kept in Jun’s safe—and thus is constantly making attempts to crack its code and otherwise force it open—the documents are really “hidden in plain sight,” a stratagem I suggested that the doctor has adopted.

I had no plans to lose myself once again in Jun’s manuscript, but a blizzard confined me to the house today, and, unable to reach the university, I found myself too strangely restless to occupy myself in my library or in listening to Jun’s records. So, I turned to that inexhaustible source of interest and happiness, Jun’s narrative of our adventures before I cast off the mantle of amateur detective. The reader may imagine with what mingled emotions of delight, pain, and admiration I survey his work; and with what gratitude I peruse those beautiful lines addressed to myself. This evidence of Jun’s loving nature forever humbles and enthralls me.

I was looking over the familiar pages when I noticed, for the first time, a strange outline along the bottom of the wooden box. How I could have so often examined the manuscript without noticing this strange feature is a mystery, but today it came to my attention. I immediately deduced the existence of a secret compartment! Tingling with anticipation, I managed to pry the compartment open, revealing, to my astonishment, additional pages of Jun’s manuscript!

Jun, I am not the perfect gentleman you imagine, for propriety would dictate that I leave the papers unexamined. Catching sight of both my name and your own, as well as the names of our dear friends, however, I surrendered to the exquisite temptation placed before me, and read the concealed chapter through to its end.

And how glad I am to have surrendered! To my utter astonishment, I discovered lines of a nature I should not have thought Jun capable of composing—a chapter detailing our hunt with Riisa and Becky, and of the first time the doctor and I made love! The tenderness of Jun’s writing naturally left me shedding tears of love and happiness—but I must also confess myself highly aroused by the doctor’s words. Unlike my flawed self, Jun is the paragon of a gentlemen, and I could never wish to rid him of his admirable sternness—yet I have often noted with a sense of discomfort Jun’s positive refusal to discuss or advertise matters of physical love, and I have often found myself embarrassed by my own frankness about such topics.

I have even struggled in vain to repress my overheated cries when in his arms. So, I relished this revelation of the doctor’s perverse nature! He has, in fact, been engaged in the creation of amateur pornography! My shock and delight are so great, in fact, that I am resolved: I shall remain beneath Jun’s desk, and, motivated equally by emotions of love and revenge, I shall write my own sensational account of our intimacy

I will recount the success of the task that most preoccupied my energy and ingenuity this winter—my attempt to achieve nothing short of the impossible—

My Seduction of Dr. Matsumoto Jun Against His Better Judgment

I have been fortunate enough to enjoy many truly happy moments in the course of my life; but my moment of purest happiness, of sheerest exhilaration, of most irrepressible joy, is doubtlessly the moment I awoke from my illness to find Jun by my side, his hair attractively rumpled as he slept upon my bed. I owe the doctor not only my life but my happiness, and no man could have asked for a kinder or more diligent physician and support—he was by my side at every moment as I recovered from my illness, alarming me only in the degree to which he was careless of his own health.

Yet, in spite of all this goodness, it was not long before I felt myself unsatisfied in the doctor’s presence. The first month of my recovery, I was too worn to think of anything but my striving to eat again, to sit up in bed, to take my first steps and move about the house again. My hair, too, had been strangely cropped (by Becky, I later learned) during one of my persistent fevers, and I am certain I presented a strange sight to the doctor in my shorn and skeletal condition.

But once I had recovered myself to be moving about with perfect freedom, returned (if not entirely to my former state of health) very nearly to my previous condition, I began to wish to resume those interesting activities with Jun that had occupied so much of our time previous to the attempt on Lord Kazunari’s life. Jun never shied away from my touch—he slept beside, took my hand in his, held me in his arms, kissed me—but should I ever attempt to move our relations in a more fervent direction, I would be quietly but firmly rejected, with looks and actions by the doctor that I could not mistake as indicating anything less than an order to “cease and desist.”

Jun is of so contemplative a nature, that I generally content myself with simply waiting until he shares with me freely whatever is troubling him. Therefore, I did not immediately think to inquire as to the reason for his coldness (perhaps fearing to hear his reasons), but I instead planned a sudden attack that I was sure should leave him in my power.

With the doctor, the most blunt approach can often be the most effective. I waited until Jun entered our bedroom after taking his bath, wearing only his robe. He turned from me for a moment in search of his pajamas and, with no more warning than the whisper of his name, I leapt from the bed to turn him and pin him against the bureau, maneuvering my leg between his own to press against him. I moved for his ear before I met his lips, knowing I should have more success if I caressed him there. I used my other hand to cradle his chin, rendering him defenseless against my kiss. After a surprised and highly pleasant “Hmmmphgh” and a slight stiffening of surprise, I felt Jun surrender; he returned my kisses with equal fervor. I felt a thrill pass through my frame as I sensed the persistent tension in Jun’s back and leg vanish even as he pressed himself more demandingly upon me. When Jun tangled his fingers in my hair and tugged, I could not repress a smile against his neck: I rejoiced in my victory.

But how to move us to the bed without breaking the spell that Jun seemed to have fallen under? He was gasping softly as I stroked him beneath his robe; if only I could remove his clothes without his notice. The robe was easy enough, but my own trousers proved a difficulty (I noted for future plans of seduction that I should fully undress beforehand in preparation)

There was a moment of pure terror when I fumbled and slipped as I attempted to kick my trousers from my feet and broke apart from Jun; but when I looked up to meet his countenance, he only smiled and pulled me to my feet, biting my shoulder gently and affectionately. To my surprise, I felt tears spring to my eyes at the gesture; I had not realized until that instant just how desperate I was to be joined with Jun again—how I ached to possess him and hear him mumble softly against my ear—

We were shuffling toward the bed, when suddenly all was lost—I coughed. It was not violent, as when I was just recovering, but I had to pause and break from our embrace. I turned back to the doctor with a smile of apology to find him withdrawn from me. His handsome face was pale, his dark, beautiful eyes troubled; I felt tension radiating from his form.

He attempted to disguise his repulsion; he offered me a smile that resembled a grimace, and he pulled me toward him to caress my back soothingly. “We should sleep, Aiba,” he said softly, but with a note of command. He was already pushing me down upon the bed, “You must be tired.”

I could not swallow for the bitterness of my disappointment; I sensed that I might soon give way to childish tears of grief; a sob was already threatening to rack my body. I placed my head in my hands in an attempt to collect myself; I knew that Jun did not like to see me weep, but the tears were already slipping from my eyes as I raised my head to him. I attempted a comforting smile as I faced him; but after catching sight of my expression, Jun looked ready to throw himself from our bedroom window.

I strove for a semblance of calm as I addressed him, but—as usual—my words betrayed me, “If your heart has changed towards me, I understand. You have done so much for me that I cannot rightfully demand anything more from you. I am much changed, and if you would like us to be…different…if you would like to return to the friendship we shared, I would not deny you…”

Jun seized me and brought me to him with such violence that I cried out in surprise; I was not certain whether he intended to embrace or smother me as he spoke fiercely into my ear, “Never pain me by saying such things. You are not leaving me, I would not allow it. I am unchanged in all my feelings for you, Aiba. Only that I care for you more dearly.”

I broke from his grasp to examine his countenance seriously, “Then why do you reject me again and again?” I whispered, feeling slightly sick as I spoke the words.

Jun closed his eyes, his brows knitting together; he was assuming that pained expression I have come to recognize as a sign that the doctor was in the throes of some dilemma (usually, I must note, an un-necessary dilemma of his own creation).

I waited patiently for Jun to speak. “I am afraid, detective. I am so afraid when I touch you. That you will break. That I will hurt you,” he sighed as if defeated, turning his eyes from me and refusing to meet my gaze.

My chest ached to see Jun in so much pain, especially when that pain was engendered by his excessive care and anxiety for my well-being. I tried to think what I might do to relieve Jun’s fears—I could imagine nothing worse than being a source of constant alarm to those I cared for

Jun had opened his eyes and was examining me warily, as though anxious for my response. I felt such affection for the doctor that it was with great difficulty that I restrained myself from making another attack upon him. But I did not want to frighten him; while a blunt offensive is often necessary, at other times Jun must be very carefully persuaded.

I nodded, “Would you…consider making love if you felt less frightened?” I wondered, doing what I could to keep my tone neutral, though my desire must have been evident in the huskiness of my voice.

The doctor was staring at me with an expression of confusion, “Yes…but…”

I interrupted Jun eagerly, “Then let us start with a drink. And take out your phonograph.”

Several hours later, we were sitting upon the floor of our bed chamber with two empty bottles of wine between us, most of which had been consumed by Jun. We sat near the phonograph, listening to a nearly silent recording of The Queen of Spades. Jun’s eyes were dark as he hummed along softly to the recording. He was dressed only in a pair of cotton pajama pants. In another moment, his head had fallen into my lap. “Detective,” he slurred, his voice low and rough, “I am feeling less frightened now,” he growled up at me, eyes warm and demanding.

Although it had indeed been part of my plan to intoxicate and then seduce the doctor, I really felt almost concerned by his uninhibited state—was I not taking advantage of a honorable man, and for my own selfish pleasure? I struggled valiantly to express my misgivings to Jun, who was making my cock hard by wetting his lips as he gazed up at me, “You will be tired soon, doctor. Let us go to bed, and perhaps tomorrow…”

I was on my back in an instant; the wind was knocked from my chest, and I gasped. I felt Jun hesitate even as he hovered above me; I quickly took his hand in my own and pressed it to my heart, “Can you feel that, Jun? It is still beating. You cannot stop it,” I whispered.

Jun pressed himself closer. I wept when his fingers moved to trace the lines of my scars. He kissed away my tears and moved his legs to pin mine between his own. I felt his smile against my cheek, then his fingers were tickling my sides. “You take such care to get me drunk, detective, and then you do nothing? It is unlike you to admit defeat so easily.”

I could only laugh and then sigh as I pressed my nose to his neck, taking in Jun’s familiar scent. I slid my hands down his back and to his ass to forcefully press Jun against me; I began thrusting shallowly as Jun’s hands moved hastily to open my shirt. His hands were so forceful that the small buttons scattered, rolling gently along the floor in elliptical arcs only to settle themselves between our floorboards. I moaned the doctor’s name as he

 

—Dear reader, I must break off this account in haste. Jun has discovered me writing beneath his desk, and, taking in my flushed expression and attitude, he has demanded to know what I write—he has finished reading and is now approaching me—I do not doubt that he means for us to review together more closely this new addition to the narrative, and to engage with its finer points in detail—

 

The End