Watson decided to confront Holmes about his use of drugs, and was not sure if it was Holmes’ deliberate manner, which Watson found offensive, or the Beaune which Watson had taken with his lunch, that set him off. This may be the only instance in which either of our guys was affected by what they had to drink.
(Beaune is a French city, and a wine-producing area within Burgundy, or Bourgogne, located in the central eastern part of the country. Beaune, the wine, is an upper-level red Burgundy wine, made primarily from the Pinot Noir grape variety.)
While telling Watson about his profession, and his consultation by the French Detective Francois le Villard, Holmes filled up his old brier-root pipe.
Holmes determined that the older brother of Watson was a drunkard, by examination of his watch.
After the initial visit by his client Mary Morstan, Holmes had lit his pipe again.
In Thaddeus Sholto’s apartment, a huge hookah stood upon a mat in the corner. Sholto offered Miss Morstan a glass of wine, Chianti or Tokay. He kept no other wines. She evidently declined. He then assured himself that she had no objection to tobacco-smoke, to the balsamic odour of the Eastern tobacco. Sholto explained he was a little nervous, and found his hookah to be an invaluable sedative. He applied a taper to the great bowl, and the smoke bubbled merrily through the rose-water. Watson, Holmes, and Miss Morstan sat all three in a semicircle, with their heads advanced and their chins upon their hands, while the strange, jerky little fellow sat in the centre. He puffed uneasily.
Watson took Miss Morstan home, picked up Toby the dog, and returned to Pondicherry Lodge, where he found Holmes standing on the doorstep with his hands in his pockets, smoking his pipe.
Toby put his nose to the creosote like a connoisseur sniffing the bouquet of a famous vintage.
After sending the BSI’s to find the steam-launch Aurora, Holmes told Watson he planned to to smoke and to think over the queer business.
After Watson ended his visit to Camberwell and Miss Morstan, it was quite dark when he returned. Holmes’ book and pipe lay by his chair, but he had disappeared.
At 3:00 p.m. the following day, while Holmes was out looking for the Aurora, Altheny Jones called. He and Watson had a cigar with whisky and soda (Jones, only a half-glass). Holmes returned in a bit, disguised as an old sea-man, and had a cigar as well. No mention of the whisky.
Then, before setting out for the boat-chase, Holmes invited Altheny Jones to dine with them. The menu was oysters and a brace of grouse, with something a little choice in white wines. The meal was a merry one. Holmes spoke with bright humour on a variety of subjects; Jones turned out to be a bon vivant. After the table was cleared Holmes glanced at his watch and filled up three glasses with port. “One bumper,” said he, “to the success of our little expedition.”
They found the boat in a repair yard, along with Mordecai Smith, the missing owner. Smith was very flush of money and rather the worse for liquor.
Following the chase and the capture of Johnathon Small, Holmes offered Small a cigar, and advised him to take a pull out of the flask, for he was very wet. Altheny Jones then entered the cabin and announced he too would have a pull at the flask.
Later, while Small was telling his story, he stopped and held out his manacled hands for the whisky and water which Holmes had brewed for him.