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To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard
him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and
predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion
akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly,
were abhorrent to his cold, precise, but admirably balanced mind. He
was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that
the world has seen; but, as a lover, he would have placed himself in a
false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe
and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer—excellent
for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. But for the
trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and
finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which
might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive
instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not
be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And
yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene
Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.

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