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.
"But, meanwhile, you have time to make some small reparation for the injury you have wrought. Are you aware that Mrs. Hilton Cubitt has herself lain under grave suspicion of murder [...]? [....] The least that you owe her is to make it clear to the whole world that she was in no way, directly or indirectly, responsible for his tragic end." (Dancing Men.189)
Justice for Holmes here is a matter of "reparation," or making amends to a wronged person (Dancing Men.189). This is part of a running theme, where justice for Holmes has more to do with personal relationships and opinions than with objective laws.
"So, my dear Watson, there's my report of a failure. And yet - and yet" - he clenched his thin hands in a paroxysm of conviction – "I know it's all wrong. I feel it in my bones. There is something that has not come out [....]" (Norwood Builder.100)
Holmes's personal judgment often comes down to instinct and gut feelings. This shows just how much faith Holmes has in his own judgment; he's willing to trust his instincts over facts.
"I must take the view, your Grace, that when a man embarks upon a crime, he is morally guilty of any other crime which may spring from it."
"Morally, Mr. Holmes. No doubt you are right. But surely not in the eyes of the law." (Priory School.2.52-3)
This is one of the most important thematic statements in the whole book; it helps to draw a distinction between morality and the law. People can be guilty in one, and not in the other. This distinction is central to how Holmes works his cases as well, and his understanding of moral vs. legal guilt impacts his dealings with people and his decisions.