The Return of Sherlock Holmes
How we cite our quotes:
"It is an open secret that the Duke's married life had not been a peaceful one, and the matter had ended in a separation by mutual consent, the Duchess taking up her residence in the south of France." (Priory School.1.21)
It's interesting that the Duke's failed marriage is described as an "open secret." It wouldn't really become a scandal until an actual divorce occurred in this era.
"I answer that it was because I could see his mother's face in his, and that for her dear sake there was no end to my long-suffering. All her pretty ways too - there was not one of them which he could not suggest and bring back to my memory. I could not send him away." (Priory School.2.64)
The Duke's tragic backstory helps to emphasize how much marriage was still a matter of money and social standing, particularly for those of the upper class, in the late Victorian era. Though the Duke loved James's mother, they were never able to get married. And that situation led to a huge mess involving James's illegitimate status. Being an illegitimate kid, or a child born outside of marriage, was a huge problem for a person in this time period.
"In that case, your Grace, since you have yourself stated that any unhappiness in your married life was caused by his presence, I would suggest that you make such amends as you can to the Duchess, and that you try to resume those relations which have been so unhappily interrupted." (Priory School.2.81)
Holmes moonlights as a marriage counselor here, which is ironic given that Holmes himself generally shuns romantic relationships.