Sherlock Holmes’s Prayer

The prayer of the world’s greatest consulting detective, by Christopher Morley, BSI

  1. Grant me, O spirit of Reason, matter for Deduction, Intuition, and Analysis; plenty of three-pipe problems, that I may avoid the cowardice of seven percent cocaine, or at least substitute something a little special in white wines.
  2. Grant me newspapers, telegrams, and the grind of carriage wheels against the kerb; the meditative breakfast at morning; the unexpected client in the night-time. And, occasionally, the alerting word grotesque.
  3. Strengthen me not to astonish the good Watson merely for theatrical pleasure; yet always to be impatient of Unmitigated Bleat; and of Guessing, which rots the logical faculty.
  4. If in hours of dullness neither the Turkish bath nor mediaeval charters, nor my scrapbooks nor my fiddle avail to soothe, turn my attention to the infallible reactions of chemistry—or to that rational and edifying insect the Bee.
  5. Remind me that there is a season of forgiveness for misfortune; but never for the incredible imbecility of bunglers (from LeCoq to Lestrade).
  6. In all the joys of action let me not forget the intellectual achievements of lethargy; to wit, Mycroft; and, slightly less to wit, Moriarty.
  7. Burden me not with unrelated facts, but encourage the habit of synthetic observation, collating the distinctions between the various. As the hand of the lithotyper is to that of the cork-cutter, so are the types of the Morning Mercury to those of the Yorkshire Post.
  8. Remember, O spirit, to Segregate the Queen. Viz., the fair sex is Watson’s department. For me, the Mind is All. But one confession in remembrance: the pistol-shot initials on the sitting-room wall were not what Watson thought. In the name of that Gracious Lady my favorite letters were the last two. I was writing not VR but IA. The Baker Street Underground shook my aim.
  9. Hold fast the doctrine: When all impossibles are eliminated, what remains, however improbable, must be the Truth.
  10. Then, O spirit, be the Game Afoot!