The Return of Sherlock Holmes
How we cite our quotes:
So far as they knew, there had never been any quarrel between husband and wife. They had always looked upon them as a very united couple. (Dancing Men.113)
The cliché that appearances can be deceiving definitely applies to all the stories here, and especially to a lot of the marriages we see in these stories. More than any other type of relationship, marriages seem to be especially prone to deceiving appearances and secrets.
"I tell you that my place here has become difficult, owing to the fact that my employer has proposed marriage to me. [...] He took my refusal very seriously, but very gently. You can understand, however, that the situation is a little strained." (Solitary Cyclist.65)
Though Violet Smith isn't married for the bulk of the "Solitary Cyclist" her tangled romantic relationships give us a lot of insight into how engagements and romances worked in the late nineteenth century. Also, we'd like to give Violet props for being the master of the understatement in her letter here.
"There are two very good reasons why she should, under no circumstances, be his wife. In the first place, we are very safe in questioning Mr. Williamson's right to solemnize a marriage."
"I have been ordained," cried the old rascal.
"And also unfrocked."
"But in any case, a forced marriage is no marriage, but is a very serious felony, as you will discover before you have finished." (Solitary Cyclist.114-120)
We kind of wish Holmes and Williamson could have had an entire story devoted to their conversations, which would have been hilarious. Holmes here points out the type of laws that governed marriage in this time period. Though you might think it's obvious that forced marriages would be illegal, this hasn't always been the case historically. The fact that England had laws against such things made it stand out among other nations in the 1890s.