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Dedication requires a lack of concern about what other people think of you

I am ec-centric - that is, away from the centre. Watson mentions my Bohemian habits [ENGR]. I describe myself as the only unofficial consulting detective [SIGN]. People come to a private detective mainly for privacy [3STU, MISS, SECO]. My allegiance is not to maintaining the status quo of conventional morality but to the larger values of truth and justice.1

This places me from time to time outside the official (and often officious) law. Thus, I was happy to take a confession from an old man with a month to live and not make it available until he had gone and even then if only absolutely necessary [BOSC], to justify private revenge in extreme cases [CHAS], to express sympathy for the lion-hunter who described himself as being so long outside the law that he had become a law unto himself [DEVI], to require Watson to bring jemmy, dark lantern, chisel, revolver on one adventure [BRUC] and to pack his revolver on a number of other occasions (though fortunately he never got around to using it!)

I suppose that I am commiting a felony, but it is just possible that I am saving a soul [BLUE].
I guess we are aiding and abetting a felony, Watson? But, after what we have heard, I don't feel as if I could give the man up, so there is an end to it [HOUN].
A conventional person can not be a good detective, because he/she can not escape conventional thought. I described Inspectors Lestrade and Gregson of Scotland Yard as shockingly conventional [STUD]. Conventional people like regular hours but, as I pointed out in one case, criminals refuse to work from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday [VALL].

I was not at all upset at the official police getting the credit from the cases which I had solved. I was at most slightly amused, as I said, when Watson was chagrined to find them getting credit in the Daily News:

If the man is caught, it will be on account of their exertions, if he escapes, then it will be despite their exertions [STUD].
I claim no credit in such cases. My name figures in no newspaper. The work in itself, the pleasure of finding a field for my peculiar powers, is my highest reward [SIGN].
Supposing I unravel the whole matter, you may be sure that Gregson, Lestrade, and Co. will pocket all the credit. That's what becomes of being an unofficial personage [STUD].
Watson was more upset than I. Indeed, that is why he began writing up my little adventures so that I could get the credit which was my due.
Your merits should be publicly recognized. You should publish an account of the case. If you won't, I will for you [STUD].
Although content to work alongside the official police, I did not cooperate fully with them.
I shall be my own police. When I have spun the web they may take the flies, but not before [FIVE].
As Watson said when he thought that I was dead:
--- the efforts of the police would have been supplemented, or more probably anticipated, by the trained observation and the alert mind of the first criminal agent in Europe [EMPT].
He also pointed out that when Lestrade visited to discuss a case that I
--- was able occasionally, without any active interference, to give some hint or suggestion drawn from his (my) own vast knowledge and experience [SIXN].
Mr Holmes is an independent investigator. He is his own master and would act as his own judgment directed. At the same time, he would naturally feel loyalty towards the officials who were working on the same case, and he would not conceal from them anything which would help them in bringing a criminal to justice [VALL].
Sometimes the police would accuse me of bringing discredit on them:
You are ready enough to use all the information that the police can lay at your disposal, and then you try to finish the case yourself and bring discredit upon them [NAVA].



1   This could be rephrased in terms of the distinction between rules and laws. Holmes was more concerned with laws (descriptions of nature, including human nature) than rules (prescriptions for conduct). Let us say that you flaunt the rules of society and ingest a hallucinogenic drug, and then proceed to defy the law of gravity by attempting to fly off your tenth-storey balcony. The penalty for disobeying the rules is imprisonment and fines; the penalty for disobeying the laws is injury or death.