Something that’s always baffled me…

Physical description of Character 1

A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height, with the chest and limbs of a Hercules. His dress was rich with a richness which would, in England, be looked upon as akin to bad taste. Heavy bands of astrakhan were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat, while the deep blue cloak which was thrown over his shoulders was lined with flame-colored silk and secured at the neck with a brooch which consisted of a single flaming beryl. Boots which extended halfway up his calves, and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur, completed the impression of barbaric opulence which was suggested by his whole appearance. He carried a broad-brimmed hat in his hand, while he wore across the upper part of his face, extending down past the cheekbones, a black vizard mask, which he had apparently adjusted that very moment, for his hand was still raised to it as he entered. From the lower part of the face he appeared to be a man of strong character, with a thick, hanging lip, and a long, straight chin suggestive of resolution pushed to the length of obstinacy.

“You had my note?” he asked with a deep harsh voice and a strongly marked German accent. “I told you that I would call.”

(later in text) The Count shrugged his broad shoulders.

Physical descriptions of Character 2 (All of it, more or less, accumulated from throughout the text.)

She has the face of the most beautiful of women…
She is the daintiest thing under a bonnet on this planet.
…she was a lovely woman, with a face that a man might die for.
…she stood at the top with her superb figure outlined against the lights of the hall…
…the beautiful creature…

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Given these two descriptions by the author of two characters in the same story, you would think that the first is the main character and the second a throw-away. I mean, seriously….if a character’s important, you would think the author would make some effort to describe her.

But the author chose not to do so, whether because he wanted to be mysterious, or simply lacked the ability to describe females in anything other than the vaguest terms.

The first character is the King of Bohemia, and the second Irene Adler. Despite being the focus of the investigation, it appears that no one can give the police a description of her or her clothing….

I have always found this rather annoying.

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