“And if you balance this equation . . .” The chalk squeaked over the board.
Young Sherlock Holmes’ voice rose from the back of the classroom. “That’s incorrect.” And as an afterthought, “Sir.”
A wave of tittering and whispers fell to silence as Professor Davis turned from his work to stare long and hard at his peculiar and difficult charge. “Mr Holmes,” he sighed, “I don’t recall your brother ever giving me this kind of trouble.”
“He’s too lazy for that,” Sherlock responded honestly to fresh mirth from his classmates.
Professor Davis tipped his head forward to look over his spectacles in the way that had intimidated students ever since his doctor had told him he needed glasses. “Do you have any idea, Mr Holmes, how long I have been teaching?”
“If you mean how long you’ve been misinforming your students . . . No.”
Later Sherlock would wonder, not for the first time in life, at authority’s habit of encouraging honesty up until the moment they were faced with it, at which time they often chose to punish it thoroughly.