dear fellow," said Sherlock Holmes as we sat on either side of the fire in
his lodgings at Baker Street, "life is infinitely stranger than anything
which the mind of man could invent. We|
would not dare to conceive the things
which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window
hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the
roofs, and peep
in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings,
the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generation,
and leading to the most outré results, it would make all fiction with its
conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable."
yet I am not convinced of it," I answered. "The cases which come to
light in the papers are, as a rule, bald enough, and vulgar enough. We have in
our police reports realism pushed
to its extreme limits, and yet the result
is, it must be confessed, neither fascinating nor artistic."
certain selection and discretion must be used in producing a realistic effect,"
remarked Holmes. "This is wanting in the police report, where more stress
is laid, perhaps, upon the
platitudes of the magistrate than upon the details,
which to an observer contain the vital essence of the whole matter. Depend upon
it, there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace."