I’d like to ask about the sentence I’m not really sure how to interpret in The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Conan Doyle, preferably to someone who’s already read the story.

“Well, it is not for me to judge you,” said Holmes, as the old man signed the statement which had been drawn out. “I pray that we may never be exposed to such a temptation.”

This is uttered at about the end of the episode.
What I want to know is what this “a temptation” indicates.
Is this “to judge you”? as Homes said the beginning of his sentence? Holmes got this perpetrator’s confession in writing as the last resort to save the wrongfully-can-be-condemned young man. But at the same time, he felt some sympathy for the perpetrator, so he doesn’t want to use and make public his confession if he can avoid it, hence “ I pray that we don’t get the urge to use it”?
Or, this perpetrator killed the victim (half) impulsively when he was listening to the victim speaking about perpetrator’s daughter, so this “temptation” meant the urge to kill someone? “I pray that we don’t get such urge to kill somebody”?

1 Answer 1


The old man in question had committed a murder. On the other hand, the victim had blackmailed him for years and had just demanded that their children marry. Holmes thinks that this is so great a provocation that he is, in fact, letting the murderer off on the condition that he make a statement that he did it, so that Holmes can produce the statement if it looks like an innocent man will be convicted of the crime,

Holmes admits that were they in such a situation, he and Watson would probably have felt the temptation to murder the blackmailer, and possibly even acted on it.

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