Laurie R. King · 341 pages
Rating: (57.7K votes)
“You cannot help being a female, and I should be something of a fool were I to discount your talents merely because of their housing.”
“I took to the Bodleian library as to a lover and ... would sit long hours in Bodley's arms to emerge, blinking and dazed with the smell and feel of all those books.”
“The words given voice inside the mind are not always clear, however; they can be gentle and elliptical, what the prophets call the bat qol, the daughter of the voice of God, she who speaks in whispers and half-seen images.”
“...but somehow the madness around me and the turmoil I carried within myself acted as counterweights, and I survived in the centre.”
“I became, in other words, more like Holmes than the man himself: brilliant, driven to a point of obsession, careless of myself, mindless of others, but without the passion and the deep-down, inbred love for the good in humanity that was the basis of his entire career. He loved the humanity that could not understand or fully accept him; I, in the midst of the same human race, became a thinking machine.”
“My God, it can recognise another human being when it's hit over the head with one.”
“I undid the wrappings with great curiosity, for Holmes did not normally give gifts. I opened the dark velvet jewller's box and found inside a shiny new set of picklocks, a younger version of his own. "Holmes, ever the romantic. Mrs. Hudson would be pleased.”
“Holmes had cultivated the ability to still the noise of the mind, by smoking his pipe and playing nontunes on the violin. He once compared this mental state with the sort of passive seeing that enables the eye, in a dim light or at a great distance, to grasp details with greater clarity by focusing slightly to one side of the object of interest. When active, strained vision only obscures and frustrates, looking away often permits the eyes to see and interpret the shapes of what it sees. Thus does inattention allow the mind to register the still, small whisper of the daughter of the voice.”
“Tell me about yourself, Miss Russel."
I started to give him the obligatory response, first the demurral and then the reluctant flat autobiography, but some slight air of polite inattention in his manner stopped me. Instead, I found myself grinning at him.
"Why don't you tell me about myself, Mr. Holmes?”
“Do not neglect to bring your revolver, Russell. It may be needed, and it does us no good in your drawer with that disgusting cheese."
"My lovely Stilton; it's almost ripe, too. I do hope Mr. Thomas enjoys it."
"Any riper and it will eat through the woodwork and drop into the room below."
"You envy me my educated tastes."
"That I will not honour with a response. Get out the door, Russell.”
“However, the mind has an amazing ability to continue worrying away at a problem all on its own, so that when the "Eureka!" comes it is as mysterious as if it were God speaking.”
“Impossibility is a log thrown on the fires of love.”
“I took to the...Library as to a lover...”
“. . . the first spring in five free from the rumour of guns across the Channel, a spring anxious to make up for the cold winter, life bursting out after four years of death. All of England raised her face to the sun. . .”
“I took the broom and made a wild sweep along the workbench, and an edge of the unwieldy head sent a tray of tools flying. Patrick picked up a chipped chisel and looked at me as if I had attacked his son.
"Have you never used a broom before?”
“I was merely going to say that I hope you realise that guilt is a poor foundation for a life, without other motivations beside it.”
“I dislike the idea of a murderer employing children,' said Holmes darkly. ‘It is, I agree, bad for their morals, and interferes with their sleep.’ ‘And their schooling,’ added Holmes sententiously.”
“When we arrived at his cottage we had known each other forever.”
“Guessing is a weakness brought on by indolence and should never be confused with intuition.”
“You did tell me what a very superior sort of mind your friend has. What a pity he was born trapped in a man's body.”
“THE END OF a case is always long, tedious, and anticlimactic,”
“Don’t stride so, Russell!” Holmes whispered fiercely. “Throw your boots out in front of you as you walk and let your elbows stick out a bit. It would help if you let your mouth hang open stupidly, and for God’s sake take off your glasses, at least until we get out of town. I won’t allow you to walk into anything. Do you think you could persuade your nose to drip a bit, just for the effect?”
“He was a talkative man and jabbered away the whole time as his horse meandered about the road. It saved us from having to construct a story for him, though by the time he left us in Banbury, I was most weary of smiling stupidly out from under my hat brim and trying not to squint. As his wagon pulled away, I turned to Holmes. “Next time we do this, I will play the deaf old woman and you can laugh at rude jests for an hour.”
“Holmes,” I asked as we stepped into the street, “I realise the question sounds sophomoric, but do you find that there are aspects of yourself with which you feel most comfortable? I only ask out of curiosity; you needn’t feel obliged to answer.” He offered me his arm and, formally, I took it. “‘Who am I?’ you mean.” He smiled at the question and gave what was at first glance a most oblique answer. “Do you know what a fugue is?” “Are you changing the subject?” “No.” I thought in silence for some distance before his answer arranged itself sensibly in my mind. “I see. Two discrete sections of a fugue may not appear related, unless the listener has received the entire work, at which time the music’s internal logic makes clear the relationship.”
“XVXVI, or 10-5-10-5-1, yielded H-E-H-E-A, which, unless she wanted to show her derisive laughter, made no sense.”
“Who am I?’ you mean.” He smiled at the question and gave what was at first glance a most oblique answer. “Do you know what a fugue is?” “Are you changing the subject?” “No.” I thought in silence for some distance before his answer arranged itself sensibly in my mind. “I see. Two discrete sections of a fugue may not appear related, unless the listener has received the entire work, at which time the music’s internal logic makes clear the relationship.” “A conversation with you is most invigorating, Russell.”
“...and opened his mouth to speak in that precise drawl which is the trademark of the overly educated upper class english gentleman. A high voice: A biting one: definitely an eccentric.”
“No one controls your destiny. Even at the very worst - there is always choice.”
“Fun drunks make a nice addition to any party. Not looking to fight. Not looking to score. Just looking to get drunk and laugh.”
“Always keep your foes confused. If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what you are like to do next. Sometimes the best way to baffle them is to make moves that have no purpose, or even seem to work against you. Remember that, Sansa, when you come to play the game.”
“What . . . what game?”
“The only game. The game of thrones.”
“I never thought it would end like this. I never thought he would leave me without saying goodbye.”
“We had everything to say to each other, but no ways to say it”
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