1

Sample:

“You reasoned it out beautifully,” I exclaimed in unfeigned admiration “It is so long a chain, and yet every link rings true.”

“It saved me from ennui,” he answered, yawning. “Alas! I already feel it closing in upon me. My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. These little problems help me to do so.”

“And you are a benefactor of the race,” said I.

Source: The Red-headed League

Question:

Watson praised Holmes's way solving the case. I take the word benefactor as "helper", then could the word "race" possibly mean the "red-headed race" or "the whole human race"?

In other words, does the phrase mean:

  1. a man superior to others as Holmes is very smart and has brilliant reasoning power? or
  2. He is a helper of the red-headed race? or
  3. He has accomplished a humanitarian act?

Thanks in advance.

2
  • Which race is ambiguous, but likely "the race of man" (i.e. humans), or "the English race". A full answer might need to explain concepts of race that existed in 1890s England, because they do not closely match contemporary ideas.
    – Juhasz
    Dec 15, 2021 at 23:19
  • 1
    It means he is valuable to other people, to the (human) race. Dec 16, 2021 at 0:18

1 Answer 1

1

Which race is ambiguous, but likely "the race of man" (i.e. humans), or "the English race". A full answer might need to explain concepts of race that existed in 1890s England, because they do not closely match contemporary ideas. – Juhasz

1
  • I'm pretty certain that he means 'the human race'. If he had means 'the English' he would have used nation. Dec 16, 2021 at 9:46

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