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29+ quotes from A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Quotes from A Study in Scarlet

Arthur Conan Doyle ·  123 pages

Rating: (241.1K votes)


“I consider that a man's brain originally is like 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 skillful 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 these 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.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is what can you make people believe you have done.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“To a great mind, nothing is little,' remarked Holmes, sententiously.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo
Ipse domi stimul ac nummos contemplar in arca.
(The public hiss at me, but I cheer myself when in my own house I contemplate the coins in my strong-box.)”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood.'
That's a rather broad idea,' I remarked.
One's ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature,' he answered.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“Dr. Watson's summary list of Sherlock Holmes's strengths and weaknesses:

"1. Knowledge of Literature: Nil.
2. Knowledge of Philosophy: Nil.
3. Knowledge of Astronomy: Nil.
4. Knowledge of Politics: Feeble.
5. Knowledge of Botany: Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening.
6. Knowledge of Geology: Practical but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them.
7. Knowledge of Chemistry: Profound.
8. Knowledge of Anatomy: Accurate but unsystematic.
9. Knowledge of Sensational Literature: Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century.
10. Plays the violin well.
11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman.
12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“It's quite exciting," said Sherlock Holmes, with a yawn.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“No man burdens his mind with small matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“What the deuce is it to me?" he interrupted impatiently: "you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“It was easier to know it than to explain why I know it. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four, you might find some difficulty, and yet you are quite sure of the fact.

~ Sherlock Holmes”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“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.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth traveled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.
‘You appear to be astonished,’ he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. ‘Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.’
‘To forget it!’
‘You see,’ he explained, ‘I consider that a man’s brain is like 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 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 these he has a large assortment, and all in most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that 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.’
‘But the Solar System!’ I protested.
‘What the deuce is it to me?’ he interrupted impatiently: ‘you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains," he remarked with a smile. "It's a very bad definition, but it does apply to detective work.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l'admire.

A fool always finds a greater fool to admire him.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a link of it.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air -- or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“One's ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“His Ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“By a man's finger-nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boots, by his trouser-knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt-cuff — By each of these things a man's calling is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent inquirer in any case is almost inconceivable. You know that a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick; and if I show you too much of my method of working, you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“Let me see. What are my other shortcomings?”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing... My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has time to realize who it is that strikes him, and why retribution has come upon him.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination; where there is no imagination there is no horror.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“Desultory readers are seldom remarkable for the exactness of their learning.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery. The most commonplace crime is often the most mysterious because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be drawn. This murder would have been infinitely more difficult to unravel had the body of the victim been simply found lying in the roadway without any of those outré and sensational accompaniments which have rendered it remarkable. These strange details, far from making the case more difficult, have really had the effect of making it less so.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“When a man writes on a wall, his instinct leads him to write above the level of his own eyes.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“There are no crimes and no criminals in these days. What is the use of having brains in our profession? I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous. No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and of natural talent to the detection of crime which I have done. And what is the result? There is no crime to detect, or, at most, some bungling villainy with a motive so transparent that even a Scotland Yard official can see through it.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


“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.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, quote from A Study in Scarlet


About the author

Arthur Conan Doyle
Born place: in Edinburgh, Scotland
Born date May 22, 1859
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