Even these days, students often ask me about working with Stephen and Conrad. Some of Stephen’s discoveries have influenced and become accepted by mainstream physicists, but little is known about the pair apart from the rumours.
Stephen is absolutely brilliant – there is no denying that. He can be charming and witty and caring. However, his obsessive nature, and specifically his absolute focus on returning to the summer of 1921, took its toll on those around him. His relationship with Conrad varied from incredibly close – more like brothers than cousins – to complete rejection. Undoubtedly, this was what eventually led to Conrad’s alienation and the falling out. I am sure that Conrad could have had a brilliant career of his own, but he felt he owed it to Stephen. He had terrible feelings of guilt, stemming from childhood. I don’t believe any of Conrad’s decisions were taken lightly – he loved Stephen dearly – but he was put under enormous pressure from Stephen himself and other outside influences. I realise I am skirting around the issue of ‘outside influences’ but I am well aware that the statue of limitations has not yet past and I would hate to see any of those involved be hauled into an inquiry. I do believe that it’s a story better left told to one of my last diary entries.
As for Jane, I know that she adores both Stephen and Conrad. She adopted Conrad when he was ten, after the death of his mother – his father had died during the war. Jane felt very protective towards both of the boys, which is I think why she was so very secretive regarding Stephen’s father. When he was a boy, Jane told Stephen that his father had worked as a spy and been killed during the war. As Stephen got older, he started to doubt Jane’s story. It’s hard to tell if this was a figment of his imagination, or if there was some truth to the rumours. It’s one of the many things I should ask him when I see him next.
As for myself – as the research reached its pinnacle, I believe I made the right choices – the only choices I could have really, but the effects were even harder to bear then I thought they would be. I am ashamed to say that I couldn’t cope, and that is when my addiction to laudanum began.