Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Study in Scarlet
-001- [Dr Watson] ‘If I am to lodge with anyone I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits.’
-002- [Holmes] ‘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.’
I laughed at this cross-examination. ‘I keep a bull pup,’ I said, ‘and 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.’
-003- No man burdens his mind with small matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so.
-004- ‘You see,’ he explained, ‘I consider that a man’s brain originally is a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of there he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. 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.’
-005- He said that he would acquire no knowledge which did not bear upon his object. Therefore all the knowledge which he possessed was such as would be useful to him.
-006- Number 3, Lauriston Gardens wore an ill-omened and minatory look. It was one of four which stood back some little way from the street, two being occupied and two empty. The latter looked out with three tiers of vacant melancholy windows, which were blank and dreary, save that here and there a ‘To Let’ card had developed like a cataract upon the bleared panes.
-007- Leaning back in the cab, this amateur bloodhound carolled away like a lark while I meditated upon the many-sidedness of the human mind.
-008- The victims of persecution had now turned persecutors on their own account, and persecutors of the most terrible description. Not the Inquisition of Seville, nor the German Velm-gericht, nor the Secret Societies of Italy, were ever able to put a more formidable machinery in motion than that which cast a cloud over the State of Utah.
-009- If there was nothing else left to him, he could at least devote his life to revenge.
-010- The hardest job was to learn my way about, for I reckon that of all the mazes that ever were contrived, this city is the most confusing.
-011- ‘What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence,’ returned my companion, bitterly. ‘The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done.’
The Sign of Four
-001- [Holmes] ‘…Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth.’
-002- The east had been gradually whitening, and we could now see some distance in the cold gray light. The square, massive house, with its black, empty windows and high, bare walls, towered up, sad and forlorn, behind us. Our course led right across the grounds, in and out among the trenches and pits with which they were scarred and intersected. The whole place, with its scattered dirt-heaps and ill-grown shrubs, had a blighted, ill-omened look which harmonized with the black tragedy which hung over it.
-003- ‘Winwood Reade is good upon the subject,’ said Holmes. ‘He remarks that, while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician…’