Transcript from the Duel in Deduction, in The Empty Hearse

Earlier tonight I was asked to transcribe Mycroft and Sherlock’s little duel in deduction over that hat. I have now done so. There’s a lot to be pulled out of this for analysis, but it’s late, so I will give it to you without commentary, for now. It’s not perfect, at all. With my thanks to drinkingcocoa-tpp, theprogressofspring and cakeanddust for the corrections.

Taken from the end of their game of Operation:

S: Can’t handle a broken heart? How very telling.

M: Don’t be smart.

S: That takes me back. [adopts creepy child voice]“Don’t be smart Sherlock, I’m the smart one.”

M [darkly]: I am the smart one.

S: I used to think I was an idiot.

M: Both of us thought you were an idiot, Sherlock. We had nothing else to go on, until we met other children.

S: Oh yes. That was a mistake.

M: Ghastly. What were they thinking of?

S: Probably something about trying to make friends.

M: Oh Yes. [sarcastic smile] Friends. Of course, you go in for that sort of thing now.

S: And you don’t? Ever?

M: If you seem slow to me, Sherlock, can you imagine what real people are like? I’m living in a world of goldfish.

S: Yes, but I’ve been away for two years.

M: So?

S: I don’t know. No, I thought perhaps you might have found yourself a…goldfish.

M: Change the subject. Now.

S: Rest assured, Mycroft, whatever this underground network of yours is up to, the secret will reside in something seemingly insignificant or bizarre.

[Enter Mrs Hudson]

M: Speaking of which.

[Sherlock smiles]

H: I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it. Him sitting in his chair again. Isn’t it wonderful Mr Holmes?

M: I can barely contain myself.

S: Oh, he really can, you know.

H: He’s secretly pleased to see you underneath all that [purses lips]

M: Sorry, which of us?

H: Both of you.

[Exit Mrs Hudson]

S: Let’s play something different.

M: [sighs] Why are we playing games?

S: Well, London’s terror alert has been raised to critical. I’m just passing the time.

[Stands to retrieve hat]

S: Let’s do deductions. Client left this while I was out. What do you reckon?

[Throws hat to Mycroft]

M: I’m busy.

S: Oh, go on. It’s been an age.

[Mycroft smells hat]

M: I always win.

S: Which is why you can’t resist.

M: I find nothing irresistible in the hat of well-travelled, anxious, sentimental, unfit creature of habit, with appalling halitosis. [pause] Damn.

[throws hat back to Sherlock]

S: Isolated too, don’t you think?

M: Why would he be isolated?

S: He?

M: Obviously.

S: Why, size of the hat?

M: Don’t be silly. Some women have large heads too. No, he’s recently had his hair cut. You can see the little hairs adhering to the perspiration stains on the inside.

S: …Some women have short hair too.

M: Balance of probability.

S: Not that you even spoken to a woman with short hair. Or, you know, a woman.

M: Stains show it’s out of condition. He’s sentimental because the hat has been repaired three, four –

S [interrupting]: Five times.

[throws hat back to Mycroft}

S: Very neatly. The cost of the repairs exceeds the cost of the hat, so he’s mawkishly attached to it, but it’s more than that – one, perhaps two patches would indicate sentimentality, but five? Five’s obsessive behaviour. Obsessive-compulsive.

M: Hardly. Your client left it behind. What sort of an obsessive-compulsive would do that?

[throws hat back to Sherlock]

M: The earlier patches are extensively sun-bleached, so he’s worn in abroad. In Peru.

S: Peru?

M: This is chullo. The classic headgear of the Andes. It’s made of alpaca.

S: No.

M: No?

S: Icelandic sheep wool. Similar but very distinctive, if you know what you’re looking for. I’ve written a blog on the varying tensile strengths of different natural fibres.

H [re-entering]: Sure there’s a crying need for that.

S: You said he was anxious.

M: The bobble on the left side has been badly chewed, which shows he’s a man of a nervous disposition, but –

S [interrupting]: But also a creature of habit because he hasn’t chewed the bobble on the right.

M: Precisely.

S: Brief sniff of the offending bobble tells us everything you need to know about the state of his breath. Really?

M: Elementary.

S: [turning away from Mycroft]: But you’ve missed his isolation.

M: I don’t see it.

S: Plain as day.

M: Where?

S: There for all to see.

M: Tell me.

S: Plain as the nose on –

M [interrupting, exasperated]: Tell me!

S:  Well, anyone who wears a hat as stupid as this isn’t in the habit of hanging around other people, is he?

M: Not at all. Maybe he just doesn’t mind being different. Doesn’t necessarily have to be isolated.


S: Exactly.

M: I’m sorry?

S: He’s different. So what. Why would he mind? Quite right.

[Sherlock puts hat on]

S: Why would anyone mind?


M:  I’m not lonely, Sherlock.

[Sherlock gives Mycroft a significant look]

S: How would you know?

M: Yes. Back to work if you don’t mind. Good morning.


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    oh god that bit was brilliant
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