violin land

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Holmes’s and Watson’s dates

It is remarkable just how often they end up in opera houses/theatres/restaurants. Also, note that Holmes is the one who always invites Watson. We know that he is a music enthusiast, but would it really be necessary to take Watson along if they were only friends (opera together? pretty intimate…), and is he not the one who does not care about eating? So why are they always having fancy dinners/nights out? 

Charles Augustus Milverton, 1885-1888?

  • Holmes and I put on our dress-clothes, so that we might appear to be two theatre-goers homeward bound. 
  • In BBC Sherlock, it is official that Sherlock sees crime scenes as dates. In the ACD canon, Holmes makes Watson wear elegant clothes for breaking into CAM’s house.


The Cardboard Box, 1888

  • Drive us to some decent hotel, cabby, where we may have some lunch, and afterwards we shall drop down upon friend Lestrade at the police station.” We had a pleasant little meal together […] and we sat for an hour over a bottle of claret while he told me anecdote after anecdote of that extraordinary man [Paganini].
  • Lunch and claret, and it is “late in the afternoon” when they continue with the investigation.


The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1889

  • And now, my dear Watson, we have had some weeks of severe work, and for one evening, I think, we may turn our thoughts into more pleasant channels. I have a box for ’Les Huguenots.’ Have you heard the De Reszkes? Might I trouble you then to be ready in half an hour, and we can stop at Marcini’s for a little dinner on the way?
  • Expensive dinner and an opera…


The Red-Headed League, 1890

  • Then put on your hat and come. I am going through the City first, and we can have some lunch on the way. I observe that there is a good deal of German music on the programme, which is rather more to my taste than Italian or French. It is introspective, and I want to introspect. Come along! […] And now, Doctor, we’ve done our work, so it’s time we had some play. A sandwich and a cup of coffee, and then off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony, and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums.
  • Here they have to hurry to get to the opera on time, but they do and Watson later describes Holmes thus:
  • All the afternoon he sat in the stalls wrapped in the most perfect happiness, gently waving his long, thin fingers in time to the music, while his gently smiling face and his languid, dreamy eyes were […] unlike those of Holmes the sleuth-hound


The Dying Detective, 1890

  • Thank you, Watson, you must help me on with my coat. When we have finished at the police station I think that something nutritious at Simpson’s would not be out of place.
  • Simpson’s was one of the most exclusive (and expensive) restaurants/hotels in London. It still exists and still keeps its old fame. So Holmes is treating Watson to an elegant dinner. Huh.


The Blue Carbuncle, 1890

  • If you will have the goodness to touch the bell, Doctor, we will begin another investigation, in which, also a bird will be the chief feature.
  • They do not go out, but a) this is Boxing Day and b) Watson’s supposedly married at the time. I mean, his wife is never mentioned, but it is 1890. (I rest my case.)


The Retired Colourman, 1898

  • Well, leave it there, Watson. Let us escape from this weary workaday world by the side door of music. Carina sings to-night at the Albert Hall, and we still have time to dress, dine, and enjoy.
  • “Dress, dine, and enjoy”? This is starting to get ridiculously obvious.


The Illustrious Client, 1902

  • I did not see Holmes again until the following evening when we dined once more at our Strand restaurant.
  • This is too sweet.


The Red Circle, 1902?

  • By the way, it is not eight o’clock, and a Wagner night at Covent Garden! If we hurry, we might be in time for the second act.
  • It is nice to see that over 20 years after meeting each other they still go to the opera together. They are an old married couple. A happy one. The happiest I have ever read about, in fact.