Henry is dead.
He left a note. “I can’t stand it any longer.”
Henry called 999, told them what he was doing, apologised, rang off, and kicked away the chair.
He was dead by the time they found his number and location and reached his house.
I actually heard the siren passing through the village, then fading out along the lanes.
He was hanging from a rafter in his workshop. BBC Radio 3 was playing, quietly.
Some would say Henry died of outrage and despair. But I hear him saying: “I’m spending too much things fretting over things I can do nothing about. It’s getting me down.”
And feeling no need to offer any further explanation
He’d already told me: “We should be free to exit when we like. I wish there was a more convenient way to do it.”
On November 17th, a week after his death, I got mail which must have been timed to Send after he was dead. It said: “ Please dispose of my books. Keep what you want.”
(He’d put something in his will apparently because his sole heir, a niece in her sixties, who looked just like Angela Lansbury, called round and said: “I gather you are the keeper of the books.”)
Evelyn and Henry are (were) quite similar people. Furiously impatient with the pettiness and provincialism of domestic politics.
Both saw the rise of Islamism as a kind of atavistic revenge on the vacuum of Western policy.
Both acknowledge that investing in the good governance of failed states is a massive project. Both accept that may well have to be preceded by military action.
Both believe that the twenty-five years since the fall of the Berlin wall have been a wasted time, a time of deep moral failure.
I admired Henry and admire Evelyn more than anyone else I know.