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The Detective’s Capacity for Love
In SCAN, Watson notes of Holmes:
“It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise, but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen; but, as a lover, he would have placed himself in a false position” (emphasis added).
Yet, one or two years later (depending upon which chronologist you consult), Watson seems to have hopes that Holmes will find a match in Violet Hunter of COPP. The good doctor notices how Holmes is “favourably impressed by the manner and speech of his new client.” Watson also notes that Holmes calls Miss Hunter an “exceptional woman.” Then, at the story’s end, the good doctor says:
“As to Miss Violet Hunter, my friend Holmes, rather to my disappointment, manifested no further interest in her when once she had ceased to be the centre of one of his problems…” (emphasis added)
According to Klinger, TWIS, IDEN, BLUE, FIVE, BOSC, STOC, NAVA, ENGR, HOUN, CROO, and REDH occur between SCAN and COPP. Is there something about Holmes that Watson observed or discovered during these cases that would cause him to change his mind about the Great Detective’s capacity for love or, at the very least, his ability to find and keep a suitable mate? Or, are the good doctor’s musings in COPP merely a reflection of his hopeful character and perhaps his misguided wishes for his friend’s marital happiness? What evidence (or lack thereof) leads you to your conclusions?