The Return of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Return of Sherlock Holmes Justice and Judgment Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Story.Paragraph) or (Story.Section.Paragraph) if applicable.
"I suppose that you will admit that the action is morally justifiable, though technically criminal." (Milverton.1.64)
For someone so concerned with facts, it's interesting that Holmes takes a pretty lax view of legal technicalities and instead places a greater emphasis on judging things by his own moral code. Holmes basically makes his moral code into a sort of law.
The high object of our mission, the consciousness that it was unselfish and chivalrous, the villainous character of our opponent, all added to the sporting interest of the adventure. Far from feeling guilty, I rejoiced and exulted in our dangers. (Milverton.1.92)
Watson gets characteristically over-the-top in his language here, especially with his mention of "chivalry." In his romantic style, Watson here echoes Holmes's understanding of morally justifiable, if illegal, acts. It's also interesting that Watson's adrenaline-junkie side appears here. He enjoys "danger," as long as it's for a "noble" purpose.
"I think there are certain crimes which the law cannot touch, and which therefore, to some extent, justify private revenge." (Milverton.2.11)
Though Holmes is a crime-fighter, it's interesting that he doesn't view the law as absolute or binding. Some things, even crimes, exist outside the law. We wonder how Holmes's attitude would be different if he was an actual cop and not a private detective.