A few minutes past nine, Watson retired to his room for the night. Holmes drank a tall glass of water, stripped off his jacket (a most welcome release from the dry July heat), removed his cuff links, and rolled up his sleeves.
He took his Stradivarius from its case with due reverence and prepared it whilst planning the night's program. A gentle warm-up, followed by Mendelssohn – Watson's favorite composer. Dvorak, Bruch, and Beethoven; no concert would be complete without him. Then something soothing - the third movement of Bach’s Sonata No. 2. Having lulled his audience, Holmes would indulge in one of his own, more daring compositions. His neighbors would be too long a-bed at that point for anything more violent than muttering curses at him.
He would finish with some easier pieces, to spare his wrists and while away the hours until the fog rolled up from the Thames. Then he would find his own way to bed.
Hot, dry air was a boon for Watson's physical wounds, but it tormented his dreams with the horrors of Maiwand. With the damp, sulfurous reek of London fog in his nose, Watson would sleep safe.
Holmes stepped to the window, nodded to the odd assortment of Londoners both high and low who had gathered to hear him play, and picked up his bow.