Ten Days with Sherlock Holmes
You will recall that 2020 is going to be enlivened by a daily Sherlockian quotation shared with the world via the medium of Facebook. But, as we know, not everyone is on GB or is not connected to the author of this journal so there will be occasional omnibus editions, about every two weeks or so.
Below are the daily extracts from New Year’s Day to Saturday the 11 January – with added value illustrations from the original editions of the tales.
I hope you find these enjoyable – we do
“I know my dear Watson that you share my taste for all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum route of everyday life”
[The Readheaded League (1891)]
“Dr. Watson, Mr, Sherlock Holmes,” said Stamford, introducing us.
“How are you?” he said, cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I would hardly have given him credit. “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”
“How on earth did you know that?” I asked in astonishment.
“Never mind,” said he, chuckling to himself.
[A Study in Scarlet (1887)]
It was on a bitterly cold night and frosty morning, towards the end of the winter of ’97, that I was awakened by a tugging at my shoulder. It was Holmes. The candle in his hand shone upon his eager, stooping, face and told me at a glance that something was amiss.
“Come, Watson, come!” he cried. “The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!”
[The Adventure of the Abbey Grange (1904)]
“My mind,” he said, “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. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.”
“The only unofficial detective?” I said, raising my eyebrows.
“The only unofficial consulting detective,” he answered. “I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection.”
On the fourth day after the New Year i heard my father give a sharp cry of surprise as we sat together at the breakfast table. There he was, sitting with a newly opened envelope in one hand and five dried orange pips in the outstretched palm of the other one.
[The Five Orange Pips – 1891]
When I look at the three massive manuscript volumes that contain our work for the year 1894, i confess that it is very difficult for me, out of such a wealth of material, to select the cases which are most interesting in themselves, and at the same time most conducive to a display of those peculiar powers for which my friend was famous. As i turn over the pages I see my notes upon the repulsive story of the red leech and the terrible death of Crosby the banker. Here also i find an account of the Addleton tragedy and the singular contents of the ancient British barrow. The famous Smith-Mortimer succession case comes also within this period and so does the tracking and arrest of Huret, the Boulevard assassin – and exploit which won for Holmes and autograph letter of thanks from the French President and the Order of the legion of Honour.
[The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez – 1904]
His very person and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most casual observer. In height he was over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller. His eyes were sharp and piercing, save during those intervals of torpor to which I have alluded; and his thin, hawklike nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision. His chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination. His hands were invariably blotted with ink and stained with chemicals, yet he was possessed of extraordinary delicacy of touch, as I frequently had occasion to observe when i watched him manipulating his fragile philosophical instruments.
“It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”
[The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet – 1892]
I seated myself in his armchair and warmed my hands before his crackling fire, for a sharp frost had set in, and the windows were thick with ice crystals. “I suppose,” I remarked, “that, homely as it looks this hat has some deadly story linked on to it – that it is the clue which will guide you in the solution of some mystery, and the punishment of some crime.”
“No crime,” said Sherlock Holmes, laughing. “Only one of those whimsical little incidents that will happen when you have four million human beings all jostling each other within the space of a few square miles. Amid the action and reaction of so dense a swarm of humanity, every possible combination of events may be expected to take place, and many a little problem will be presented which may be striking and bizarre without being criminal”
[The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle – 1892]
“Perhaps you can account for the bullet which has so obviously struck the edge of the window?”
He had turned suddenly, and his long, thin finger was pointing at a hole that had been drilled right through the lower window-sash, about an inch above the bottom.
“By George!” cried the Inspector. “However did you see that?”
“Because I looked for it”
[The Adventure of the Dancing Men – 1903]
“By the way, Holmes,” I added, “I have no douobt the connection between my boots and a Turkish bath is a perfectly self-evident one to a logical mind, and yet I should be obliged to you if you would indicate it.”
“The train of reasoning is not very obscure, Watson,” said Holmes with a mischievous twinkle. “It belongs to the same elementary class of deduction which I should illustrate if I were to ask you who shared your cab in your drive this morning.”
[The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax – 1911]
**Saturday 11 January**
“An old soldier, I perceive,” said Sherlock.
“And very recently discharged,” remarked the brother.
“Served in India, I see.”
“And a non-cmmissioned officer.”
“Royal Artillery, I fancy,” said Sherlock.
“And a widower.”
“But with a child.”
“Childrem my dear boy. Children”
“Come,” said I, laughing, “this is a little too much”.
[The Greek Interpreter – 1893]