ADVENTURE I. A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIAI.To Sherlock Holmes she is always THE woman. I have seldom heardhim mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipsesand predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he feltany emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and thatone particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise butadmirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfectreasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as alover he would have placed himself in a false position. He neverspoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. Theywere admirable things for the observer--excellent for drawing theveil from men's motives and actions. But for the trained reasonerto admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finelyadjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor whichmight throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in asensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-powerlenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in anature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, andthat woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionablememory.I had seen little of Holmes lately. My marriage had drifted usaway from each other. My own complete happiness, and thehome-centred interests which rise up around the man who firstfinds himself master of his own establishment, were sufficient toabsorb all my attention, while Holmes, who loathed every form ofsociety with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings inBaker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating fromweek to week between cocaine and ambition, the drowsiness of thedrug, and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. He was still,as ever, deeply attracted by the study of crime, and occupied hisimmense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation infollowing out those clues, and clearing up those mysteries whichhad been abandoned as hopeless by the official police. From timeto time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summonsto Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder, of his clearing upof the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee,and finally of the mission which he had accomplished sodelicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland.Beyond these signs of his activity, however, which I merelyshared with all the readers of the daily press, I knew little ofmy former friend and companion.