MRS HUDSON'S CASE
BY LAURIE R. KING
Copyright 2012 Laurie R. King
As has been noted by a previous biographer, Mrs Hudson was the most long-suffering of landladies. In the years when Sherlock Holmes lived beneath her Baker Street roof, she faced with equanimity his irregular hours, his ill temper, his malodorous and occasionally dangerous chemical experiments, his (again) occasionally malodorous and even dangerous visitors, and all the other demands made on her dwelling and her person. And yet, far from rejoicing when Holmes quit London for the sea-blown expanses of the Sussex Downs, in less than three months she had turned her house over to an estate agent and followed him, to run his household as she had formerly run her own. When once I dared to ask her why, late on a celebratory evening when she had rather more drink taken than was her wont, she answered that the devil himself needed someone to look after him, and it made her fingers itch to know that Mr Holmes was not getting the care to which he was accustomed. Besides, she added under her breath, the new tenants had not been in place for a week before she knew she would go mad with boredom.
Thus, thanks to the willingness of this good woman to continue suffering in the service of genius, Holmes’ life went on much as before.
Not that he was grateful, or indeed even aware of her sacrifice. He went on, as I said, much as before, feeling vexed when her tidying had removed some vital item or when her regular market-day absence meant that he had to brew his own coffee. Deep in his misogynistic soul, he was not really convinced that women had minds, rights, or lives of their own.