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Sherlock Holmes

Dr. Bell of Edinburgh is said to be the original from whom Sir Arthur Conan Doyle drew his idea of Sherlock Holmes.

The doctor was once teaching a class of medical students at a hospital how to treat people. A patient was brought in, so that the doctor might show how an injured man should be cared for. The patient in this case came limping in, and the doctor turned to one of the students and asked him:

"What is the matter with this man ?"

The student replied, "I don't know, sir. I haven't asked him."

The doctor said: "Well, there is no need to ask him, you should see for yourself-he has injured his right knee-he is limping on that leg. He injured it by burning it in the fire-you see how his trouser is burnt away at the knee. This is Monday morning. Yesterday was fine, Saturday was wet and muddy. The man's trousers are muddy all over. He had a fall in the mud on Saturday night."

Then he turned to the man and said: "You drew your wages on Saturday and got drunk, and in trying to get your clothes dry by the fire when you got home, you fell on the fire and burnt your knee- isn't that so?"

"Yes, sir," replied the man.

I saw a case in the paper once where a judge at the county court used his powers of "noticing little things", and "putting this and that together". He was trying a man as a debtor.

The man pleaded that he was out of work, and could get no employment.

The judge said: "Then what are you doing with that pencil behind your ear if you are not in business?"

The man had to admit that he had been helping his wife in her business, which, it turned out, was a very profitable one. The judge thereupon ordered him to pay his debt.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


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