The Strand serialized The Hound of the Baskervilles starting in Aug 1901. Watson and Holmes, about 49 and 47, respectively, had lived again at Baker St. for 7 years.
Some what-ifs about fitting Watson’s writing of Hound into a larger story:
- In 1901, Watson and Holmes together were planning on retiring soon from the consulting detective business. For Watson, the idea of transitioning to writing may have been the excuse for the new book, the first after Holmes’s return. Holmes, for his part, accepted Holdernesse’s large check with uncharacteristic relish.
- The Lady Carfax case took place in 1901, and Watson was thinking (fuming) about the parallel occurrence of Holmes sending him ahead to investigate then showing up without notice.
- Watson more often was “feeling rheumatic and old” that year. In Hound, he twice remembered, or imagined, how well he could run.
- Watson in 1901 really did not care to remember he was married during Hound, if we accept the 1889 date. Whatever the date, things Watson did seem to want to think about – and share in his oddly unguarded way – included missing Holmes, expressing his hurt, Holmes’s tender response and apology, his own competence apart from Holmes, and how an impossible love had wrecked Sir Henry. Did Watson recall this significant time while his relationship with Holmes was strong or, ahead of their separation in 1902, deteriorating?