“Sorry, only one room left tonight,” apologized the inn-keeper with a tone that indicated his friendly customer service was rarely practiced.
“Double beds?” Holmes asked. The innkeeper simply shook his head.
Watson sighed. “I’ll admit that I’m hardly surprised.”
The detective smiled at his doctor sadly and slid the impatient innkeeper his payment. “Keep the change.”
Arriving at the room, Watson noted the outdated floors and ceiling, the wallpaper peeling from the walls and a layer of dust on the mantle. “Why the tip?” he asked, wondering why Holmes would be so eager to stay in an establishment such as this.
“You know my theory, Watson. All the town gossip funnels to the innkeeper. Perhaps he will be of use later.”
Watson admitted to himself that he did know the theory well. Holmes had reiterated it on the past three cases in which the pair were forced to take up lodgings other than Baker Street and share a bed. Never once did they communicate with the innkeeper about the case.
They ended up only using the room for two nights before the case was solved. Watson considered the case to be dull and had not even committed himself to submitting its story to The Strand. He reassured himself that Holmes had found interest in the crime’s mundane nature and justice was being served. Holmes had come to a conclusion within a few hours of the first day at the scene but had insisted on staying longer to laminate the facts. “If you would be so kind, my good doctor.”
Of course, Watson agreed. There was a sort of peace to cases that required travel. They spent every waking moment beside each other, so it only made sense to spend the sleeping hours together as well. When they lay together at night, the problems of the day rest in finality.
On the night of their return to Baker Street, the pair sat in comfortable silence by the fire, sipping tea and catching up on the papers. When it was time for bed, they both rose to retire to their rooms, lingering in front of Holmes’s own. The candles painted the walls with golden light and illuminated their figures against the darkness.
Watson said his goodnight and walked towards the stairs before facing Holmes again with one last question. “Have you looked into the cases that arrived while we were away? Is there one that interests you?”
Holmes turned away as he opened his door and spoke to the room rather than to Watson. “Perhaps one where the town only has one bed.”