"We can but try -- the motto of the firm."
-- Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Creeping Man"
This quote intrigues me for several reasons.
At first blush, "we can but try" doesn't sound like Holmes. He is usually, let us say, rather more sure of himself. But this is actually one of two places in the Canon where he make that modest statement. The other is in "The Problem of Thor Bridge."
The current quote is provoked by Dr. Watson making the comment first. Holmes repeats it, adding that charming phrase "the motto of the firm."
At least, I find it charming that Holmes doesn't consider himself an independent operator but a member of a firm -- presumably a firm of just two. In "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire," he similarly makes reference to "this agency."
In several passages throughout the Canon, Dr. Watson refers to "our client." The plural isn't presumptuous on his part. The doctor and the detective were truly partners -- Holmes & Watson, Consulting Detectives.