It's not often that Dr. Watson describes a situation in which he finds himself that every one of us can relate to in an instant, feeling a rough approximation of what Watson felt, and knowing that seem little twinge of emotion that comes with it . . . exactly. Perhaps the best of these comes from The Man with the Twisted Lip and reads as follows:
"A large and comfortable double-bedded room had been placed at our disposal, and I was quickly between the sheets, for I was weary after my night of adventure."
Now, let us avoid those spinning-off-into-porn urges here and look at exactly what he's saying. Watson is weary from the stresses of walking into an opium den where murders happen and a long buggy ride out to the suburbs, all of which happened past his normal bed-time. It's late and he just wants to experience that simple joy of finding one's self between the bed-sheets with nothing else to do but let sleep take hold.
Is there any better moment?
For all we can go on about a perfectly-prepared meal, a lover's touch, a thrilling jump into unknown territory, none of that . . . NONE of that . . . compares to that blissful feeling of being in the sheets knowing that slumber is near. We tend to take it for granted until we are deprived of it. Few joys come so often as this one when all is well.
Imagining that moment, however, feeling it's familiar sensations on the skin in our memories, the immediate question becomes: "Hey! What was Watson wearing? He didn't pack his jammies to go to the opium den!"
While Mrs. St. Clair apologizes for being "wanting in arrangements," the room she provides for her two guests seems very nice. Would some nightshirts have been rustled up? As Watson agreeably gives her a "don't worry, I'm an old campaigner" line to let her off the hostess hook, she may not have gone to any such trouble, but then we are left with some choices.
a.) Watson gets between the sheets fully clothed, but takes off his shoes.
b.) Watson takes off shoes and trousers, tie and collar and any other paraphernalia, and gets between the sheet in shirt-tails and undies.
c.) Watson strips down to his Victorian skivvies to slide between the sheets.
d.) Watson . . . well, I shall politely hide my blog eyes for this one.
Other variations are possible of course, but what is the most probable? Personally, I feel the trousers had to come off. But, hey, it's the Victorian era and maybe he would have been concerned about having to get out of bed without them in a crisis.
Sherlock Holmes spends the night sitting on pillows wrapped in a dressing gown over his shirt and pants, and as he knew he would be spending the night, he may have packed a night-shirt along with that dressing gown and loaned that to Watson.
So many options! We should have Sherlockian micro-debates and have panels present quick points and counter-points over such issues! (And, yes, cutting through the whole thing and getting to sexy-time might be a crowd-pleaser, but restrain yourself.)
For now, however, I feel the call of the sheets myself, and am trying to determine the best way to pay tribute to Watson in that moment. Those details, of course, shall remain between me and my doctor (Watson).