a London restaurant located at 221b Baker Street, pictures
on its menu the putative residence of Sherlock Holmes—and
they even serve coffee
"I have, at least, a well-polished, silver-plated coffee-pot
in front of me," said he.
While Watson assumes that Holmes had used his superhuman powers of deduction to ascertain what Watson is doing, he had merely used his powers of observation.
"The thick iron ferrule is
worn down, so it is evident that he has done a great amount of walking
A "ferrule" is the tip of a cane, the part touching the ground.
"Interesting, though elementary," said he as he returned to
his favourite corner of the settee.
This is the closest that Holmes ever comes to saying, "Elementary, my dear Watson."
"Has anything escaped me?" I asked with some self-importance. "I trust that there is nothing of consequence which I have overlooked?"
"I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of your conclusions were erroneous. When I said that you stimulated me I meant, to be frank, that in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth. Not that you are entirely wrong in this instance. The man is certainly a country practitioner. And he walks a good deal."
"Then I was right."
"To that extent."
"But that was all."
This wonderful bit of dialogue reveals much about the Holmes-Watson relationship. Watson's failed attempts to apply Holmes's methods give the reader a better appreciation for Holmes's unique talents, and his pride in them.
"Now, you will observe that he could not have been on the
staff of the hospital, since only a man well-established in a London
practice could hold such a position, and such a one would not drift
into the country. What was he, then? If he was in the hospital and
yet not on the staff he could only have been a house-surgeon or a
house-physician—little more than a senior student."
Conan Doyle draws on his personal knowledge of the difficulties facing a doctor who wished to establish a medical practice in the 19th century.