Victorian domestic values are primarily demonstrated in the conventional love relationship between Mary Morstan and Watson. As her name implies, Mary is a paragon of purity. She has led the exemplary life of a governess, an old-fashioned profession, at a time when more and more single women were becoming the feared New Women working outside of the domestic sphere. She is self-controlled, modest, and quiet. The pearls she receives mysteriously every year symbolize her purity and innocence. Victorian domestic values are also shown in Watson's reluctance to marry her as long as she is a potential heiress and in his delight in being able to protect and support her when it emerges that her treasure is lost.
Sherlock Holmes, bent on pursuing mysteries and intellectual challenges and tending to retreat into cocaine use when he lacks these challenges, provides a contrast to the conventional domestic values of Watson and Mary. The conventional Watson shows concern and scolds Holmes for his drug habit.
The other contrast to wholesome Victorian domestic values is the subcontinent of India, a place that is depicted as exotic, dangerous, and "other." The intrusion onto English soil of people from India and its surrounding islands, most particularly in the form of the Andaman Islander Tonga and his poison blow dart, is depicted as a threat to English domestic values in this story.