The Final Revelation
Doctor Dolores Muir
Unflappable Doctor to the Insane
As Deputy Director of Caterham Asylum, Dolores has seen every madness under the sun. Nothing surprises her any more. Within minutes of meeting a patient, she has categorized them and knows what treatment is best.
Take, for example, Jakob Tulving. Every five years, he relapses into mania and delusion, rambling about occult sects, ancient folklore and God knows what else. His writing, normally composed and exact, sprawls over the page. Dolores knows his mind better than her own.
As she grows older, her memory worsens. Often, she forgets where she has put books. She misspells words she would never have misspelled in her youth. Sometimes, in speech, she grasps for words; the other day, for example, she could not remember which meat came from a pig. She realises her faculties are declining. In her wilder moments, she fears she is losing her mind. Having always prided herself on her sanity, this shakes her. Surely she is different from her mentally feeble patients? What would she do if her mind began to go?
Her eyesight, too, is deteriorating. She cannot read without glasses nor recognize people until they are close. She is getting older. This scares her. These fears emerge in her manner; she is abrupt, dismissive and judgmental. She tells herself she does not suffer fools gladly, yet wonders whether she is becoming a fool herself.