two men, Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, stare at one another and an envelope floats above them

The Adventure of the Final Problem

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Who drives Watson to the station in “The Adventure of the Final Problem”?

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Mycroft Holmes drives Dr. John Watson to the station. In “The Adventure of the Final Problem,” the story that recounts the supposed death of Sherlock Holmes, Watson accompanies his close friend Holmes on a trip to Switzerland. On the first leg of their trip, they travel by train from Victoria Station to the coast of England. Sherlock enlists the help of his brother, Mycroft.

Holmes comes to Watson’s house to request his help in pursuing his nemesis, the diabolical Professor Moriarty. After Watson agrees to go with him the next morning, Holmes insists that they travel separately to the train station.

To help Watson elude Moriarty and his henchmen, Holmes gives Watson very precise directions about how to get to the station. First, he must send his luggage ahead. Then he must take a cab or hansom, but when his servant hails it on the street, he must take the third hansom that stops, not the first or second one. After traveling to the location Holmes specifies, the Lowther Arcade, Watson must run through the Arcade and find another, specific cab. Holmes describes the driver of the correct cab as “a fellow with a heavy black cloak tipped at the collar with red.” This cab will take him to Victoria Station.

The next morning, Watson follows these instructions to the letter. The cab driver is “a very massive driver wrapped in a dark cloak” who, as soon as Watson gets out at Victoria, instantly dashes off. When Watson enters the train compartment that is their designated rendezvous spot, he fails to recognize Holmes in his disguise as an Italian priest. Once Sherlock Holmes reveals himself, he tells Watson that his brother, Mycroft, had been the cab driver.

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