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Monday, December 12, 2011

Quintessential Quote #29

"The work is its own reward."
-- Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder"

I'm sure that this quote is true, but equally sure that -- for Sherlock Holmes -- the work was not the only reward. A few other rewards occur to me:
  • The fame his cases brought to his name, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Watson. ("I hear of Sherlock everywhere since you became his biographer.") Even as Holmes eschews immediate credit in the Norwood Builder matter, he alludes to Watson's eventual account.
  • Financial remuneration that was not inconsiderable. At at the time of quote in question, Holmes had recently returned from a three-year non-working hiatus, during which time he was able to keep paying the rent on 221 B Baker Street.
  • Membership in the French Legion of Honour and the offer of a knighthood, which he refused.
  • A gold snuffbox from the King of Bohemia and a ring from the ruling family of Holland.
  • An emerald tie-pin that was "a present from a certain gracious lady," given after a day at Windsor in the wake of Holmes's outstanding work in the Bruce-Partington affair.

If Holmes practiced art for art's sake during the later part of his career, it may have been in part because it was good advertising -- and in part because he could by then afford it.

What's your favorite Sherlock Holmes quote?

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