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Written by Timothy Sexton
“My dear Watson, I owe you a thousand apologies. I had no idea that you would be so affected.”
After a three year absence during following the faking of his own death and the crafting together of evidence for Watson to deduce the events leading to his demise, these are the words that the detective uses to reveal he is alive after all. They come shortly after a dramatic physical revelation which causes Watson to nearly faint dead away.
The loud warning shout which finally reveals that the Norwood builder was not murdered or even dead at all. Holmes engages in this bit of trickery to get Norwood to reveal his hiding place, gambling that a man might well ignore pleas for help in order to maintain his complex plot for revenge, but only a truly sturdy soul would take a chance on a false alarm when trapped in hidden room with only one secret way out.
A coded message meaning ELSIE PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD
This is the code written in “The Dancing Men” which causes Sherlock Holmes to race with great urgency to the home of Hilton and Elsie Cubitt. The urgency, which turns out to be too late, is stimulated by the message coded into the cipher: Elsie Prepare to Meet Thy God.
“No, she’s your widow.”
The “she” in question is the young lady with a bicycle whose very future is at stake in “The Solitary Cyclist.” The man declaring that “she” is a widow is replying to a blackguard who just told Caruthers he was too late to save her since they’d just been married and she was now his wife. Caruthers punctuates this clarification by shooting a bullet in the premature groom.
“To humour your guilty older son, you have exposed your innocent younger son to imminent and unnecessary danger.”
A bit of irony here. Sherlock’s moral outrage is here directed against the Duke of Holdernesse and rightly so. The moral authority is shortly deflated by Sherlock’s accepting extra payment for his services over and beyond the stipulated agreement in what is effectively a bribe in exchange for keeping the good name of the Duke intact by revealing the details of the sordid case.
CHARLES AUGUSTUS MILVERTON, Appledore Towers, Hampstead. Agent.
The simple calling card of the master blackmailer whom Sherlock refers to as “the worst man in London.”
“But then, when the man commits burglary in order to break images which are not his own, that brings it away from the doctor and on to the policeman.”
With these words from Lestrade describing the most interesting case before the London police at the moment, Holmes leaps to attention and is soon hot on the trail of what is really at the heart of the matter of the “The Six Napoleons” plaster busts being smashed to smithereens one by one. Lestrade assumes it is the work of a madman; Holmes pursues a much different path of reasoning.
“Vox populi, vox Dei. You are acquitted, Captain Crocker. So long as the law does not find some other victim you are safe from me. Come back to this lady in a year, and may her future and yours justify us in the judgment which we have pronounced this night!”
With these closing words of “The Abbey Grange” Sherlock Holmes—for neither the first nor last—declares himself judge and jury and allows a man he knows committed a homicide in self-defense to leave the country without facing trial.
“Only one important thing has happened in the last three days, and that is that nothing has happened.”
Echoing the fact a dog did nothing in the night became an essential clue in solving the adventure of “Silver Blaze” is this observation by Holmes in “The Second Stain.” At stake is the apparent theft of a government document which—should it fall into the wrong hands—has the potential for nothing less than plunging England into war. The fact that such an incendiary document has produced absolutely no ramification or consequences is the essential clue Holmes needs to determine that the document was never stolen in the sense everybody fears at all; a revelation which considerably narrows the field of suspects.
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