24

It helps to have a bit more of the context leading up to this: There have been some very strange happenings. I have been in this house more than a year now, and as I wished to lead a retired life I have seen little of my neighbours. Three days ago I had a call from a man who said that he was a house agent. He said that this house would exactly suit a client ...


9

This sounds like a typical description of what one might expect to see in an Oxbridge college, either in Conan Doyle's time or today (they haven't changed much). Note that "one of our great university towns" in the story must mean Oxford or Cambridge. The "long, low, latticed window" would be something like this (latticed), only a ...


8

Here "the reverse" is in reference to "favorably"; the implication is: She impressed me neither favorably nor the reverse [of favorably]. "Impress" is used to mean "to make a vivid impression". Mrs. Rucastle did not impress the speaker favorably (they do not hold a positive impression/opinion of her) or unfavorably. ...


8

The pencil. Holmes is saying that the "broad-pointed, violet-tinted" nature of the pencil is not an unusual pattern for pencils, so Holmes can't identify anything sufficiently unique about them. Contrast this with The Adventure of the Three Students, which does involve an unusual pencil: “The pencil was not an ordinary one. It was above the usual ...


6

I agree with the others the use of “tropical” is not intended to refer to the (astronomically-defined) tropics, but I would like to add that some parts of Afghanistan are quite hot and humid. Dr. Watson was in the Battle of Maiwand, which has a dry climate. But if you look at a physical map you'll see that the area around Jalalabad (Nangarhar Province) is ...


4

It is a natural consequence of the majority of Sherlock Holmes stories being told in the first person by Watson, that descriptions of him are few and far between. The text must rely on people either talking about Watson in his presence or describing him to himself. Conan Doyle approaches this ingeniously and obliquely in The Adventure of Charles Augustus ...


3

This passage means that Mrs. Rucastle is a rather unremarkable person (colorless in mind and feature) who does not leave much of impression at all, either good or bad. Here, "the reverse" refers to the reverse of favorably. Violet is left with neither a positive nor a negative impression of her. She impressed me neither favorably nor the reverse [...


3

This is the plot of the story "The Final Problem". "The Final Problem" is the story where Moriarty is introduced, as the most fiendish criminal in all of London, and also the story where he meets his end, apparently (but, as later revealed, not really) together with Holmes himself. This short story begins with Holmes telling Watson all ...


2

To ensure that there is an answer, "The Evil One" is a euphemism for the Devil, likely under the superstitious idea that speaking the name of a being might invoke or invite it, the same reason that the word "bear" ("the brown one") became popular, and the original Germanic word for the creature is now unknown.


2

You are right. The meaning is that if the butler appeared among the bishops on a bench, he would add dignity to their appearance, thus adorning them -- since bishops should be dignified.


2

Yes, I think you're right The most obvious thing for "I've been there" to be a response to is the last sentence of the other speaker's, "The conversation was amazingly indiscreet". As you note in the question, Von Bork would probably have been in similar situations. The use of "amazingly" conveys incredulousness (from the other ...


1

The above should probably be read with the added context that it is someone named “Violet Hunter” who states that another woman has no “color” or is so “grey” as to leave Violet without any negative or positive “impression” of her at all. Therefore, the “purple hunter,” after meeting with this “colorless” lady, is not impressed by Mrs Rucastle’s looks or ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible