I object to rows because my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts of ungodly hours, and I am extremely lazy. I have another set of vices when I'm well, but those are the principal ones at present.
The fair sex is your department.
Anything is better than stagnation.
It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.
But love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things.
I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner.
Like all Holmes' reasoning, the thing seemed simplicity itself when it was once explained. Dr. Watson, speaking of Sherlock Holmes.
My sympathies and my love went out to her, even as my hand had in the garden. I felt that years of the conventionalities of life could not teach me to know her sweet, brave nature as had this one day of strange experiences. Yet there were two thoughts which sealed the words of affection upon my lips. She was weak and helpless, shaken in mind and nerve. It was to take her at a disadvantage to obtrude love upon her at such a time. Worst still, she was rich.
So swift, silent and furtive were his movements like those of a trained bloodhound picking out a scent, that I could not but think what a terrible criminal he would have made had he turned his energy and sagacity against the law instead of exerting them in its defense. -Dr. Watson, The Sign of the Four.
Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before.
Where there is no imagination there is no horror.
His sanguine spirit turns every firefly into a star.
I could not rest, Watson, I could not sit quiet in my chair, if I thought that such a man as Professor Moriarty were walking the streets of London unchallenged.
Heaven, too, was very near to them in those days. God's direct agency was to be seen in the thunder and the rainbow, the whirlwind and the lightning. To the believer, clouds of angels and confessors, and martyrs, armies of the sainted and the saved, were ever stooping over their struggling brethren upon earth, raising, encouraging, and supporting them.
When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals.
When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals. He has nerve and he has knowledge.
Some people's affability is more deadly than the violence of coarser souls.
Exactly. Since it is morally justifiable, I have only to consider the question of personal risk. Surely a gentleman should not lay much stress upon this, when a lady is in most desperate need of his help?
No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and of natural talent to the detection of crime which I have done.
You're not hurt, Watson? For God's sake, say that you are not hurt!"
It was worth a wound -- it was worth many wounds -- to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.
Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him.
I trust that age doth not wither nor custom stale my infinite variety.
There seems to me to be absolutely no limit to the inanity and credulity of the human race. Homo Sapiens! Homo idioticus!
You cannot see the lettuce and the dressing without suspecting a salad.
To a great mind, nothing is little.
I should like to meet him," I said. "If I am to lodge with anyone, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or excitement. I had enough of both in Afghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natural existence. How could I meet this friend of yours?
Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill.
Was it hardness, was it selfishness, that she should ask me to risk my life for her own glorification? Such thoughts may come to middle age; but never to ardent three-and-twenty in the fever of his first love.
From my boyhood I have had an intense and overwhelming conviction that my real vocation lay in the direction of literature. I have, however, had a most unaccountable difficulty in getting any responsible person to share my views.
- Cyprian Overbeck Wells: A Literary Mosaic.
Kalau kausingkirkan semua yang mustahil, apa pun yang tersisa, betapapun mustahilnya, adalah kebenaran.
A client is to me a mere unit, a factor in a problem.
You have done all the work in this business. I get a wife out of it, Jones gets the credit, pray what remains for you?"
"For me," said Sherlock Holmes, "there still remains the cocaine-bottle." And he stretched his long white hand up for it.
The lowest and vilest alleys of London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.
Love has been taken away from the poets, and has been brought within the domain of true science. It may prove to be one of the great cosmic elementary forces. When the atom of hydrogen draws the atom of chlorine towards it to form the perfected molecule of hydrochloric acid, the force which it exerts may be intrinsically similar to that which draws me to you. Attraction and repulsion appear to be the primary forces. This is attraction.
The chief proof of man's real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.
As a rule, the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.
Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions.
You know, Watson, I don't mind confessing to you that I have always had an idea that I would have made a highly efficient criminal.
It is cocaine," he said, "a seven-per-cent solution. Would you
care to try it?" "No, indeed," I answered brusquely. "My constitution has not got over the Afghan campaign yet. I cannot afford to throw any extra strain upon it." He smiled at my vehemence. "Perhaps you are right, Watson," he said. "I suppose that its influence is physically a bad one. I find it, however, so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment.
I was forced to agree.
I have my own views about Nature's methods, though I feel that it is rather like a beetle giving his.
Life, my dear Watson, is infinitely stranger than fiction; stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We could not conceive the things that are merely commonplace to existence. If we could hover over this great city, remove the roofs, and peep in at the things going on, it would make all fiction, with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions flat, stale and unprofitable.
The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action I can recall in our association. I was alone.
London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.
It isn't true that the laws of nature have been capriciously disturbed; that snakes have talked; that women have been turned into salt; that rods have brought water out of rocks.
Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. It's smell and it's color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.
For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain.
It's a very cheery thing to come into London by any of these lines which run high and allow you to look down upon the houses like this."
I thought he was joking, for the view was sordid enough, but he soon explained himself. "Look at those big, isolated clumps of buildings rising up above the slates, like brick islands in a lead-coloured sea." "The board-schools." "Light-houses, my boy! Beacons of the future! Capsules with hundreds of bright little seeds in each, out of which will spring the wiser, better England of the future.
There is a danger there -- a very real danger to humanity. Consider, Watson, that the material, the sensual, the worldly would all prolong their worthless lives. The spiritual would not avoid the call to something higher. It would be the survival of the least fit. What sort of cesspool may not our poor world become?
My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation.
Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving.
As you value your life or your reason keep away from the moor.
Still, it is an error to argue in front of your data. You find yourself insensibly twisting them round to fit your theories.
It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery.
There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubbable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger's Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offenses, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere.
The division seems rather unfair," I remarked. "You have done
all the work in this business. I get a wife out of it, Jones gets the credit, pray what remains for you?" "For me," said Sherlock Holmes, "there still remains the cocaine-bottle." And he stretched his long white hand up for it.
It is easy to be wise after the event.
Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.
We have much to hope from the flowers.
It is the small men and not the great who hold their noses in the air.
I said that he was my superior in observation and deduction. If the art of the detective began and ended in reasoning from an armchair, my brother would be the greatest criminal agent that ever lived. But he has no ambition and no energy. He will not even go out of his way to verify his own solutions, and would rather be considered wrong than take the trouble to prove himself right.
At the moment our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans. To perceive this and to do something to change it in personal and public ways is to undergo a change of perception akin to a religious conversion. Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society.
There is a soul-jealousy that can be as frantic as any body-jealousy.
If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive.
Desultory readers are seldom remarkable for the exactness of their learning.
Well, well, my dear fellow, be it so. We have shared this same room for some years, and it would be amusing if we ended by sharing the same cell. .
It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgement.
Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different.
I must thank you for it all. I might not have gone but for you, and so have missed the finest study I ever came across: a study in scarlet, eh? Why shouldn't we use a little art jargon. There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it. And now for lunch, and then for Norman Neruda. Her attack and her bowing are splendid. What's that little thing of Chopin's she plays so magnificently: Tra-la-la-lira-lira-lay." Leaning back in the cab, this amateur bloodhound carolled away like a lark while I meditated upon the many-sidedness of the human mind.
So tomorrow we disappear into the unknown. This account I am transmitting down the river by canoe, and it may be our last word to those who are interested in our fate.
Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.
And yet the motives of women are so inscrutable. You remember the woman at Margate whom I suspected for the same reason. No powder on her nose -- that proved to be the correct solution. How can you build on such a quicksand? Their most trivial action may mean volumes, or their most extraordinary conduct may depend upon a hairpin or a curling tongs.
A fine thought in fine language is a most precious jewel, and should not be hid away, but be exposed for use and ornament.
Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.
Are you conscious of the restful influence which the stars exert? To me they are the most soothing things in Nature. I am proud to say that I don't know the name of one of them. The glamour and romance would pass away from them if they were all classified and ticketed in one's brain. But when a man is hot and flurried, and full of his own little ruffled dignities and infinitesimal misfortunes, then a star bath is the finest thing in the world.
Might I trouble you to open the window, for chloroform vapour does not help the palate.
It is fortunate for this community that I am not a criminal.
One other thing, Lestrade," he added, turning round at the door: "‘Rache,' is the German for ‘revenge;' so don't lose your time looking for Miss Rachel." With which Parthian shot he walked away, leaving the two rivals open-mouthed behind him.
How do you know that?"
"I followed you." "I saw no one." "That is what you may expect to see when I follow you.
I could not wish anything better than to be associated with my friend in one of those singular adventures which were the normal condition of his existence.
Excellent!" I cried. "Elementary," said he.
If the fresh facts come to our knowledge all fit themselves into the scheme, then our hypothesis may gradually become a solution.
Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the golden autumn light, and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds. Long, glinting dragonflies shot across the path, or hung tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies.
The weak man becomes strong when he has nothing, for then only can he feel the wild, mad thrill of despair.
When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
You will remember that I remarked the other day, just before we went into the very simple problem presented by Miss Mary Sutherland, that for strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination." "A proposition which I took the liberty of doubting." "You did, Doctor, but none the less you must come round to my view, for otherwise I shall keep on piling fact upon fact on you until your reason breaks down under them and acknowledges me to be right.
It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.
I must apologize for calling so late," said he, "and I must further beg you to be so unconventional as to allow me to leave your house presently by scrambling over your back garden wall.
I cannot live without brain-work. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-colored houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth.
He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer- excellent for drawing the veil from men's motives and actions. But for the trained observer to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his.
You mentioned your name as if I should recognize it, but beyond the obvious facts that you are a bachelor, a solicitor, a freemason, and an asthmatic, I know nothing whatever about you.
We had got as far as this, when who should walk in but the gentleman himself, who had been drinking his beer in the taproom and had heard the whole conversation. Who was I? What did I want? What did I mean by asking questions? He had a fine flow of language, and his adjectives were very vigorous.
It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.
The vegetable kingdom still remains one of the few which Napoleon has not yet conquered.
I have wrought my simple plan If I give one hour of joy To the boy who's half a man, Or the man who's half a boy.
A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.
I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime; and when Homes, in one of his queer humours, would sit in an armchair with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V.R. done in bullet pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved by it.
All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience.
Horses: dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle.
Brothers are a blessing for one thing. There is no possibility of any young lady getting unreasonably conceited if she be endowed with them.
In England the emerald-green kind is probably the commonest, I have seen it also in the woods of France and Belgium, in far-away Massachusetts, and on the banks of the Niagara River.
This looks like one of those unwelcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie.
Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labour, that he takes snuff, that he is a Freemason, that he has been in China, and that he has done a considerable amount of writing lately, I can deduce nothing else.
I have mastered the principles of several religions. They have all shocked me by the violence which I should have to do to my reason to accept the dogmas of any one of them.
Nature is the true revelation of the Deity to man. The nearest green field is the inspired page from which you may read all that it is needful for you to know.
He had never seen a woman doctor before, and his whole conservative soul rose up in revolt at the idea. He could not recall any biblical injunction that the man should remain ever the doctor and the woman the nurse, and yet he felt as if a blasphemy had been committed.
Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantel-piece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist, all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally, he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined armchair with a long sigh of satisfaction.
The grand thing is to be able to reason backwards.
My correspondence has certainly the charm of variety, and the humbler are usually the more interesting. This looks like one of those unwelcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie.
There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you.
There are no crimes and no criminals in these days. What is the use of having brains in our profession? I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous. No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and of natural talent to the detection of crime which I have done. And what is the result? There is no crime to detect, or, at most, some bungling villainy with a motive so transparent that even a Scotland Yard official can see through it.
It is a question of cubic capacity," said he; "a man with so large a brain must have something in it.
My sister and I, you will recollect, were twins, and you know how subtle are the links which bind two souls which are so closely allied.
I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of everyday life. You have shown your relish for it by the enthusiasm which has prompted you to chronicle, and, if you will excuse my saying so, somewhat to embellish so many of my own little adventures.
Well, and there is the end of our little drama," I remarked, after we had sat some time smoking in silence. "I fear that it may be the last investigation in which I shall have the chance of studying your methods. Miss Morstan has done me the honour to accept me as a husband in prospective."
He gave a most dismal groan.
Our ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature.
It is decreed by a merciful Nature that the human brain cannot think of two things simultaneously.
The goose we retained until this morning, when there were signs that, in spite of the slight frost, it would be well that it should be eaten without delay. Its finder has carried it off therefore to fulfil the ultimate destiny of a goose.
You see, but you do not observe.
To let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine. It racks itself to pieces.
So complex is the human spirit that it can itself scarce discern the deep springs which impel it to action.
We can't command our love, but we can our actions.
I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one's weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace, and kindliness to man and beast. We can't all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something.
Let me run over the principal steps. We approached the case, you remember, with an absolutely blank mind, which is always an advantage. We had formed no theories. We were simply there to observe and to draw inferences from our observations.
His neighbor is a tooth-drawer. That bag at his girdle is full of the teeth that he drew at Winchester fair. I warrant that there are more sound ones than sorry, for he is quick at his work and a trifle dim in the eye.
The devil's agents may be of flesh and blood, may they not?
Dogmas of every kind put assertion in the place of reason and give rise to more contention, bitterness, and want of charity than any other influence in human affairs.
To underestimate oneself is as much an exaggeration of one's powers than the other.
He burst into one of his rare fits of laughter as he turned away from the picture. I have not heard him laugh often, and it has always boded ill to somebody.
You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.
It's stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.
I fear that if the matter is beyond humanity, it is certainly beyond me.
It is quite a three-pipe problem.
Women are naturally secretive, and they like to do their own secreting.
No violence, gentlemen -- no violence, I beg of you! Consider the furniture!
Everything I have to say has already crossed your mind."
"Then possibly my answer has crossed yours.
Where is your warrant?"
Holmes half drew a revolver from his pocket. "This will have to serve till a better one comes." "Why, you're a common burglar." "So you might describe me," said Holmes cheerfully. "My companion is also a dangerous ruffian. And together we are going through your house.
I can never bring you to realize the importance of sleeves, the suggestiveness of thumb-nails, or the great issues that may hang from a boot-lace.
When the impossible has been eliminated, all that remains no matter how improbable is possible.
It is all in the way of professional experience.
They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains," he remarked with a smile. "It's a very bad definition, but it does apply to detective work.
Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it.
He is not a bad fellow, though an absolute imbecile in his profession. He has one positive virtue. He is as brave as a bulldog and as tenacious as a lobster if he gets his claws upon anyone.
I dislike my fellow-mortals. Justice compels me to add that they appear for the most part to dislike me.
No: I am not tired. I have a curious constitution. I never remember feeling tired by work, though idleness exhausts me completely." ~ Sherlock Holmes.
When a man writes on a wall, his instinct leads him to write above the level of his own eyes.
How ever did you see that?" Because I looked for it.."
Ex-Professor Moriarty of mathematical celebrity... is the Napoleon of crime, Watson.
Das Leben ist unendlich seltsamer als alles, was der menschliche Geist erfinden könnte.
A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.
Goresthorpe Grange is a feudal mansion -- or so it was termed in the advertisement which originally brought it under my notice. Its right to this adjective had a most remarkable effect upon its price, and the advantages gained may possibly be more sentimental than real. Still, it is soothing to me to know that I have slits in my staircase through which I can discharge arrows; and there is a sense of power in the fact of possessing a complicated apparatus by means of which I am enabled to pour molten lead upon the head of the casual visitor.
What one man can invent, another can discover.
I am inclined to think -' said I. 'I should do so,' Sherlock Holmes remarked impatiently.
My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people do not know.
Life, it turns out, is infinitely more clever and adaptable than anyone had ever supposed.
As I turned away, I saw Holmes, with his back against a rock and his arms folded, gazing down at the rush of the waters. It was the last that I was ever destined to see of him in this world. -- Watson.
Really, Watson, you excel yourself," said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. "I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt.
To begin at the beginning.
You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles.
You are my heart, my life, my one and only thought.
She entered with ungainly struggle like some huge awkward chicken, torn, squawking, out of its coop.
The husband was a teetotaller, there was no other woman, and the conduct complained of was that he had drifted into the habit of winding up every meal by taking out his false teeth and hurling them at his wife.
I should have more faith," he said; "I ought to know by this time that when a fact appears opposed to a long train of deductions it invariably proves to be capable of bearing some other interpretation.
I am an omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive memory for trifles.
To underestimate oneself is as much an exaggeration of one's powers than the other.
Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person.
The affair seems absurdly trifling, and yet I dare call nothing trivial when I reflect that some of my most classic cases have had the least promising commencement. You will remember, Watson, how the dreadful business of the Abernetty family was first brought to my notice by the depth which the parsley had sunk into the butter upon a hot day.
The fantastic graces of Chivalry lay upon the surface of life, but beneath it was a half-savage population, fierce and animal, with little ruth or mercy.
We all learn by experience, and your lesson this time is that you should never lose sight of the alternative. Sherlock Holmes speaking with Dr. Watson.
Living, as I do, in an educated and scientific atmosphere, I could not have conceived that the first principles of zoology were so little known. Is it possible that you do not know the elementary fact in comparative anatomy, that the wing of a bird is really the forearm, while the wing of a bat consists of three elongated fingers with membranes between?
For strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.
We balance probabilities and choose the most likely. It is the scientific use of the imagination.
Too much! Wait till you have lived here longer. Look down the valley! See the cloud of a hundred chimneys that overshadows it! I tell you that the cloud of murder hangs thicker and lower than that over the heads of the people. It is the Valley of Fear, the Valley of Death. The terror is in the hearts of the people from the dusk to the dawn. Wait, young man, and you will learn for yourself.
I have taken to living by my wits.
There are no fools so troublesome as those who have some wit.
Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.
Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really merely commonplaces of existence.
You know how often the turning down this street or that, the accepting or rejecting of an invitation, may deflect the whole current of our lives into some other channel. Are we mere leaves, fluttered hither and thither by the wind, or are we rather, with every conviction that we are free agents, carried steadily along to a definite and pre-determined end?
I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose.
A fine horse or a beautiful woman, I cannot look at them unmoved, even now when seventy winters have chilled my blood.
You know how easily and suddenly these things happen, beginning in playful teasing and ending in something a little warmer than friendship. You squeeze the slender arm which is passed through yours, you venture to take the little gloved hand, you say good night at absurd length in the shadow of the door. It is innocent and very interesting, love trying his wings in a first little flutter.
The highest morality may prove also to be the highest wisdom when the half-told story comes to be finished.
His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing... My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System.
I suppose I shall have to compound a felony as usual.
From the first day I met her, she was the only woman to me. Every day of that voyage I loved her more, and many a time since have I kneeled down in the darkness of the night watch and kissed the deck of that ship because I knew her dear feet had trod it. She was never engaged to me. She treated me as fairly as ever a woman treated a man. I have no complaint to make. It was all love on my side, and all good comradeship and friendship on hers. When we parted she was a free woman, but I could never again be a free man.
Yet birth, and lust, and illness, and death are changeless things, and when one of these harsh facts springs out upon a man at some sudden turn of the path of life, it dashes off for the moment his mask of civilization and gives a glimpse of the stranger and stronger face below.
I do not know whether it came from his own innate depravity or from the promptings of his master, but he was rude enough to set a dog at me. Neither dog nor man liked the look of my stick, however, and the matter fell through. Relations were strained after that, and further inquiries out of the question.
When you have one of the first brains of Europe up against you, and all the powers of darkness at his back, there are infinite possibilities.
It is all very well to say that a man is clever, but the reader wants to see examples of it.
I follow my own methods, and tell as much or as little as I choose. That is the advantage of being unofficial.
My uncle, Mr. Stephen Maple, had been at the same time the most successful and the least respectable of our family, so that we hardly knew whether to take credit for his wealth or to feel ashamed of his position.
"I find it hard enough to tackle facts, Holmes, without flying away after theories and fancies."
"You are right," said Holmes demurely: "you do find it very hard to tackle the facts."
My mind is like a racing engine, tearing itself to pieces because it is not connected up with the work for which it was built. Life is commonplace; the papers are sterile; audacity and romance seem to have passed forever from the criminal world. Can you ask me, then, whether I am ready to look into any new problem, however trivial it may prove?
Anything seems commonplace, once explained.
How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
Oh how I've missed you, Holmes.
Picnics are very dear to those who are in the first stage of the tender passion.
It is not really difficult to construct a series of inferences, each dependent upon its predecessor and each simple in itself. If, after doing so, one simply knocks out all the central inferences and presents one's audience with the starting-point and the conclusion, one may produce a startling, though perhaps a meretricious, effect.
Strange indeed is human nature. Here were these men, to whom murder was familiar, who again and again had struck down the father of the family, some man against whom they had no personal feeling, without one thought of compunction or of compassion for his weeping wife or helpless children, and yet the tender or pathetic in music could move them to tears.
It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull.
On general principles, it is best that I should not leave the country. Scotland Yard feels lonely without me, and it causes an unhealthy excitement among the criminal classes.
It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.
I felt Holmes's hand steal into mine and give me a reassuring shake. -- Watson.
I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right.
"Now, Watson," said Holmes, as a tall dog-cart dashed up through the gloom, throwing out two golden tunnels of yellow light from its side lanterns. "You'll come with me, won't you?" "If I can be of use." "Oh, a trusty comrade is always of use; and a chronicler still more so. My room at The Cedars is a double-bedded one."
There are heroisms all round us waiting to be done.
There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less and a cleaner, better stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.
If the man who observes the myriad stars, and considers that they and their innumerable satellites move in their serene dignity through the heavens, each swinging clear of the other's orbit-if, I say, the man who sees this cannot realise the Creator's attributes without the help of the book of Job, then his view of things is beyond my understanding.
Holy Men! Holy Cabbages! Holy Bean Pods! What do they do but live and suck in sustenance and grow fat?
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
When people bury treasure nowadays they do it in the Post-Office bank.
It is a pity he did not write in pencil. As you have no doubt frequently observed, the impression usually goes through -- a fact which has dissolved many a happy marriage.
I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.
You have brought detection as near an exact science as it ever will be brought in this world." My companion flushed up with pleasure at my words, and the earnest way in which I uttered them. I had already observed that he was as sensitive to flattery on the score of his art as any girl could be of her beauty.
No man burdens his mind with small matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so.
It is not easy to express the inexpressible," he answered with a laugh.
"My dear Watson," said Sherlock Holmes, "I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one's self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one's own powers.
The ideal reasoner, he remarked, would, when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings, deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it but also all the results which would follow from it.
I have frequently gained my first real insight into the character of parents by studying their children.
'It is my duty to warn you that it will be used against you,' cried the Inspector, with the magnificent fair play of the British criminal law.
How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. It shines on a good many folk, but on none, I dare bet, who are on a stranger errand than you and I. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!
There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination; where there is no imagination there is no horror.
A study of family portraits is enough to convert a man to the theory of reincarnation.
I am the most incurably lazy devil that ever stood in shoe leather.
By a man's finger-nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boots, by his trouser-knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt-cuff -- By each of these things a man's calling is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent inquirer in any case is almost inconceivable. You know that a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick; and if I show you too much of my method of working, you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all.
There is nothing more unaesthetic than a policeman.
To all the world he was the man of violence, half animal and half demon; but to her he always remained the little wilful boy of her own girlhood, the child who had clung to her hand. Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him.
Am dining at Goldini's Restaurant, Gloucester Road, Kensington. Please come at once and join me there. Bring with you a jemmy, a dark lantern, a chisel, and a revolver. S. H." It was a nice equipment for a respectable citizen to carry through the dim, fog-draped streets.
Just as an octopus may have his den in some ocean cave, and come floating out a silent image of horror to attack a swimmer, so I picture such a spirit lurking in the dark of the house which he curses by his presence, and ready to float out upon all whom he can injure.
There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as that faint, subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.
Recognising, as I do, that you are the second highest expert in Europe" "Indeed, sir! May I inquire who has the honour to be the first?" Asked Holmes, with some asperity. "To the man of precised, scientific mind the work of Monsieur Bertillon must always appeal strongly." "Then had you not better consult him?" "I said, sir, to the precisely scientific mind. But as a practical man of affairs it is acknowledged that you stand alone. I trust, sir, that I have not inadvertently -- " "Just a little," said Holmes.
You will ruin no more lives as you ruined mine. You will wring no more hearts as you wrung mine. I will free the world of a poisonous thing. Take that, you hound, and that! -- and that! -- and that! -- and that!
Streams may spring from one source and yet some may be clear and some be foul.
Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood.' That's a rather broad idea,' I remarked. One's ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature,' he answered.
I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development. Would you have any objection to my running my finger along your parietal fissure? A cast of your skull, sir, until the original is available, would be an ornament to any anthropological museum. It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull.
His love of danger, his intense appreciation of the drama of an adventure -- all the more intense for being held tightly in -- his consistent view that every peril in life is a form of sport, a fierce game betwixt you and Fate, with Death as a forfeit, made him a wonderful companion at such hours.
I wanted to end the world, but I'll settle for ending yours.
How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!
Let me see--what are my other shortcomings? I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right. What have you to confess now? It's just as well for two fellows to know the worst of one another before they begin to live together.
Data!data!data!" he cried impatiently. "I can't make bricks without clay.
The best way of successfully acting a part is to be it.
By the way, Doctor, I shall want your cooperation.' 'I shall be delighted.' 'You don't mind breaking the law?' 'Not in the least.' 'Nor running a chance of arrest?' 'Not in a good cause.' 'Oh, the cause is excellent!' 'Then I am your man.' 'I was sure that I might rely on you.
There is but one step from the grotesque to the horrible.
Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.
His incredible untidiness, his addiction to music at strange hours, his occasional revolver practice within doors, his weird and often malodorous scientific experiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around him made him the very worst tenant in London.
It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognise out of a number of facts which are incidental and which are vital.
The sky was of the deepest blue, with a few white, fleecy clouds drifting lazily across it, and the air was filled with the low drone of insects or with a sudden sharper note as bee or bluefly shot past with its quivering, long-drawn hum, like an insect tuning-fork.
There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has time to realize who it is that strikes him, and why retribution has come upon him.
The more outre' and grotesque an incident is the more carefully it deserves to be examined, and the very point which appears to complicate a case is, when duly considered and scientifically handled, the one which is most likely to elucidate it.
It is, of course, a trifle, but there is nothing so important as trifles.
There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowmen.
Jealousy is a strange transformer of characters.
What is the meaning of it, Watson? said Holmes solemnly as he laid down the paper. "What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.
I must thank you,' said Sherlock Holmes, 'for calling my attention to a case which certainly presents some features of interest. I had observed some newspaper comment at the time, but I was exceedingly preoccupied by that little affair of the Vatican cameos, and in my anxiety to oblige the Pope I lost touch with several interesting English cases.
Work is the best antidote to sorrow, my dear Watson.
Though unmusical, German is the most expressive of all languages,.
I have already explained to you that what is out of the common is usually a guide rather than a hindrance.
I am somewhat exhausted; I wonder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor?
From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other.
It is the sweetest spring within the memory of man. So green, so mild, so beautiful! Ah, what a contrast between nature without and my own soul so torn with doubt and terror!
When you have eliminated the impossible, what is left, no matter how unlikely, is the truth.
To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name.
There is nothing like first-hand evidence.
What a lovely thing a rose is!
Just see how it glints and sparkles. Of course it is a nucleus and focus of crime. Every good stone is. They are the devil.
What is out of the common is usually a guide rather than a hindrance.