Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Arthur Conan Doyle | "A Scandal in Bohemia" | 1891

My Dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes,

You really did it very well. You took me in completely. Until after the Adventure of the Copper Beeches, I had not a suspicion. But then, when I noted the civility and care with which you treated Miss Hunter, I began to think. I had seen hints of your respect for women many stories ago. I had been told that, if a woman could have a problem taken seriously by one investigator in all of London, it would certainly be you. And your generosity had been relayed to me by Dr. Watson. Yet, with all this, you still surprised me with behavior that countered my suspicions of you as a chauvinist. Even after I became aware of your willingness to work on what you considered to be a trivial problem for a female client, I found it hard to think fondly of such a calculating, unemotional man. But, you know, I have been accused of being cold and calculating myself. Unemotional reasoning is nothing new to me. I often take advantage of the clarity and logical conclusions which it gives. I re-read the tales of your adventures, pondered quietly, and came to my conclusion just as you concluded your last documented case.

Well, I followed you to the end, and so made sure that chauvinism really was not a flaw of the celebrated Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Then I, rather imprudently, wrote you this letter, and retired to once again ruminate over your many successes.

I thought the best resource was a pseudonym, when addressing one so formidable as yourself; so you will be unable to respond to this letter unless you choose to exercise those many talents which have brought you so far as a consulting detective. Still, I imagine that you will feel no need to do so. You may rest in peace knowing that your admiration and, in fact, true respect for women--particularly The woman--will remain untold by me. I have made a record of it only to preserve your legacy in coming years, and to preserve a weapon which will always be at the ready in case you go a bit too far in making merry over the cleverness of women. I remain, dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes,

Very truly yours,