Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
To many, the Afghan wars bring fame and promotion, but to John H. Watson, M.D., they bring only misfortune. He is wounded by a Jezail bullet, succumbs to enteritis during his convalescence, and after months of suffering is sent home with a pension of eleven shillings and sixpence a day. At first, Watson lives in a hotel, but his pension scarcely covers his bills. By chance, he meets an old friend, Stamford, to whom he confides his difficulties. Stamford tells him of an amateur scientist, Sherlock Holmes, who has rooms at 221B Baker Street and is looking for someone to share them. Stamford warns him that Holmes pursues unorthodox studies—one day, Stamford finds him beating a cadaver to see if bruises can be produced after death—and that he has a queer habit of making deductions from trifling details. Watson grows curious about Holmes and arranges to have Stamford introduce them. Soon after that first meeting, Watson goes to share Holmes’s rooms on Baker Street.
Watson never goes out and consequently spends much time studying his new friend. He finds Holmes an amazingly contradictory man, one who knows nothing at all of literature, philosophy, or astronomy but has a profound knowledge of chemistry, anatomy, and sensational crime stories. He also plays the violin. From time to time, Holmes has visitors, but Watson never knows why they come.
One day at breakfast, Watson learns a good deal more about his friend. Holmes shows him a letter from...
(The entire section is 1317 words.)
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