“I never make exceptions. An exception disproves the rule. Have you ever had occasion to study character in handwriting? What do you make of this fellow’s scribble?”
“It is legible and regular,” I answered. “A man of business habits and some force of character.”
Holmes shook his head. “Look at his long letters,” he said. “They hardly rise above the common herd. That d might be an a, and that l an e. Men of character always differentiate their long letters, however illegibly they may write. There is vacillation in his k’s and self-esteem in his capitals. I am going out now. I have some few references to make. Let me recommend this book,—one of the most remarkable ever penned. It is Winwood Reade’s Martyrdom of Man. I shall be back in an hour.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four, Ch. II - The Statement of the Case (Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, Febbraio 1890)
Il film, adattamento dal secondo racconto di Watson, è del 1932, prodotto dalla RKO e diretto da Graham Cutts, con Arthur Wontner (Holmes) e Ian Hunter (Watson).