| Our breakfast table was cleared early, and
Holmes waited in his
dressing-gown for the promised interview. Our clients
tual to their appointment, for the clock had just
struck ten when
Dr. Mortimer was shown up, followed by the young baronet.
The latter was a small, alert, dark-eyed man about
thirty years of
age, very sturdily built, with thick black eyebrows
and a strong,
pugnacious face. He wore a ruddy-tinted tweed suit
and had the
weather-beaten appearance of one who has spent most
time in the open air, and yet there was something
in his steady
eye and the quiet assurance of his bearing which indicated
"This is Sir Henry Baskerville," said Dr. Mortimer.
"Why, yes," said he, "and the strange thing
is, Mr. Sherlock
Holmes, that if my friend here had not proposed coming
you this morning I should have come on my own account.
understand that you think out little puzzles, and
I've had one this
morning which wants more thinking out than I am able
"Pray take a seat, Sir Henry. Do I understand
you to say that
you have yourself had some remarkable experience since
arrived in London?"
"Nothing of much importance, Mr. Holmes. Only
a joke, as
like as not. It was this letter, if you can call it
a letter, which
reached me this morning."
He laid an envelope upon the table, and we
all bent over it. It
was of common quality, grayish in colour. The address,
Henry Baskerville, Northumberland Hotel," was printed
characters; the post-mark "Charing Cross," and the
posting the preceding evening.
"Who knew that you were going to the Northumberland
tel?" asked Holmes, glancing keenly across at our
"No one could have known. We only decided after
I met Dr.
"But Dr. Mortimer was no doubt already stopping
"No, I had been staying with a friend," said
"There was no possible indication that we intended
to go to this
"Hum! Someone seems to be very deeply interested
movements." Out of the envelope he took a half-sheet
cap paper folded into four. This he opened and spread
the table. Across the middle of it a single sentence
formed by the expedient of pasting printed words upon
it. It ran:
As you value your life or your reason
keep away from the moor.
The word "moor" only was printed in ink.
"Now," said Sir Henry Baskerville, "perhaps
you will tell
me, Mr. Holmes, what in thunder is the meaning of
who it is that takes so much interest in my affairs?"
"What do you make of it, Dr. Mortimer?
You must allow that
there is nothing supernatural about this, at any rate?"
"No, sir, but it might very well come from
someone who was
convinced that the business is supernatural."
"What business?" asked Sir Henry sharply. "It
seems to me
that all you gentlemen know a great deal more than
I do about
my own affairs."
"You shall share our knowledge before you leave
Sir Henry. I promise you that," said Sherlock Holmes.
confine ourselves for the present with your permission
very interesting document, which must have been put
and posted yesterday evening. Have you yesterday's
"It is here in the corner."
"Might I trouble you for it -- the inside page,
please, with the
leading articles?" He glanced swiftly over it, running
his eyes up
and down the columns. "Capital article this on free
me to give you an extract from it.
"You may be cajoled
into imagining that your own spe-
cial trade or your own industry
will be encouraged by a
protective tariff, but it stands
to reason that such legislation
must in the long run keep away
wealth from the country,
diminish the value of our imports,
and lower the general
conditions of life in this island.
"What do you think of that, Watson?" cried Holmes in
rubbing his hands together with satisfaction. "Don't
that is an admirable sentiment?"
Dr. Mortimer looked at Holmes with an air of
interest, and Sir Henry Baskerville turned a pair
of puzzled dark
eyes upon me.
"I don't know much about the tariff and things
of that kind,"
said he, "but it seems to me we've got a bit off the
trail so far as
that note is concerned."
"On the contrary, I think we are particularly
hot upon the
trail, Sir Henry. Watson here knows more about my
than you do, but I fear that even he has not quite
significance of this sentence."
"No, I confess that I see no connection."
"And yet, my dear Watson, there is so very
close a connec-
tion that the one is extracted out of the other. 'You,'
'your,' 'life,' 'reason,' 'value,' 'keep away,' 'from
you see now whence these words have been taken?"
"By thunder, you're right! Well, if that isn't
smart!" cried Sir
"If any possible doubt remained it is settled
by the fact that
'keep away' and 'from the' are cut out in one piece."
"Well, now -- so it is!"
"Really, Mr. Holmes, this exceeds anything
which I could
have imagined," said Dr. Mortimer, gazing at my friend
amazement. "I could understand anyone saying that
were from a newspaper; but that you should name which,
add that it came from the leading article, is really
one of the
most remarkable things which I have ever known. How
"I presume, Doctor, that you could tell the
skull of a negro
from that of an Esquimau?"
"Because that is my special hobby. The differences
ous. The supra-orbital crest, the facial angle, the
"But this is my special hobby, and the differences
obvious. There is as much difference to my eyes between
leaded bourgeois type of a Times article and the slovenly
an evening half-penny paper as there could be between
negro and your Esquimau. The detection of types is
one of the
most elementary branches of knowledge to the special
crime, though I confess that once when I was very
confused the Leeds Mercury with the Western Morning
But a Times leader is entirely distinctive, and these
have been taken from nothing else. As it was done
strong probability was that we should find the words
"So far as I can follow you, then, Mr. Holmes,"
Henry Baskerville, "someone cut out this message with
"Nail-scissors," said Holmes. "You can see
that it was a
very short-bladed scissors, since the cutter had to
take two snips
over 'keep away.' "
"That is so. Someone, then, cut out the message
with a pair
of short-bladed scissors, pasted it with paste --"
"Gum," said Holmes.
"With gum on to the paper. But I want to know
why the word
'moor' should have been written?"
"Because he could not find it in print. The
other words were
all simple and might be found in any issue, but 'moor'
"Why, of course, that would explain it. Have
you read any-
thing else in this message, Mr. Holmes?"
"There are one or two indications, and yet
the utmost pains
have been taken to remove all clues. The address,
is printed in rough characters. But the Times is a
paper which is
seldom found in any hands but those of the highly
may take it, therefore, that the letter was composed
educated man who wished to pose as an uneducated one,
effort to conceal his own writing suggests that that
be known, or come to be known, by you. Again, you
observe that the words are not gummed on in an accurate
but that some are much higher than others. 'Life,'
is quite out of its proper place. That may point to
it may point to agitation and hurry upon the part
of the cutter. On
the whole I incline to the latter view, since the
evidently important, and it is unlikely that the composer
a letter would be careless. If he were in a hurry
it opens up the
interesting question why he should be in a hurry,
since any letter
posted up to early morning would reach Sir Henry before
would leave his hotel. Did the composer fear an interruption
and from whom?"
"We are coming now rather into the region of
said Dr. Mortimer.
"Say, rather, into the region where we balance
and choose the most likely. It is the scientific use
of the imagina-
tion, but we have always some material basis on which
our speculation. Now, you would call it a guess, no
doubt, but I
am almost certain that this address has been written
in a hotel."
"How in the world can you say that?"
"If you examine it carefully you will see that
both the pen and
the ink have given the writer trouble. The pen has
twice in a single word and has run dry three times
in a short
address, showing that there was very little ink in
Now, a private pen or ink-bottle is seldom allowed
to be in such
a state, and the combination of the two must be quite
you know the hotel ink and the hotel pen, where it
is rare to get
anything else. Yes, I have very little hesitation
in saying that
could we examine the waste-paper baskets of the hotels
Charing Cross until we found the remains of the mutilated
leader we could lay our hands straight upon the person
this singular message. Halloa! Halloa! What's this?"
He was carefully examining the foolscap, upon
words were pasted, holding it only an inch or two
from his eyes.
"Nothing," said he, throwing it down. "It is
a blank half-
sheet of paper, without even a water-mark upon it.
I think we
have drawn as much as we can from this curious letter;
Sir Henry, has anything else of interest happened
to you since
you have been in London?"
"Why, no, Mr. Holmes. I think not."
"You have not observed anyone follow or watch
"I seem to have walked right into the thick
of a dime novel,"
said our visitor. "Why in thunder should anyone follow
"We are coming to that. You have nothing else
to report to us
before we go into this matter?"
"Well, it depends upon what you think worth
"I think anything out of the ordinary routine
of life well worth
Sir Henry smiled.
"I don't know much of British life yet, for
I have spent nearly
all my time in the States and in Canada. But I hope
that to lose
one of your boots is not part of the ordinary routine
of life over
"You have lost one of your boots?"
"My dear sir," cried Dr. Mortimer, "it is only
will find it when you return to the hotel. What is
the use of
troubling Mr. Holmes with trifles of this kind?"
"Well, he asked me for anything outside the
"Exactly," said Holmes, "however foolish the
seem. You have lost one of your boots, you say?"
"Well, mislaid it, anyhow. I put them both
outside my door
last night, and there was only one in the morning.
I could get no
sense out of the chap who cleans them. The worst of
it is that I
only bought the pair last night in the Strand, and
I have never
had them on."
"If you have never worn them, why did you put
them out to
"They were tan boots and had never been varnished.
why I put them out."
"Then I understand that on your arrival in
you went out at once and bought a pair of boots?"
"I did a good deal of shopping. Dr. Mortimer
here went round
with me. You see, if I am to be squire down there
I must dress
the part, and it may be that I have got a little careless
in my ways
out West. Among other things I bought these brown
boots -- gave
six dollars for them -- and had one stolen before
ever I had them
on my feet."
"It seems a singularly useless thing to steal,"
Holmes. "I confess that I share Dr. Mortimer's belief
that it will
not be long before the missing boot is found."
"And, now, gentlemen," said the baronet with
seems to me that I have spoken quite enough about
the little that
I know. It is time that you kept your promise and
gave me a full
account of what we are all driving at."
"Your request is a very reasonable one," Holmes
"Dr. Mortimer, I think you could not do better than
to tell your
story as you told it to us."
Thus encouraged, our scientific friend drew
his papers from
his pocket and presented the whole case as he had
done upon the
morning before. Sir Henry Baskerville listened with
attention and with an occasional exclamation of surprise.
"Well, I seem to have come into an inheritance
with a ven-
geance," said he when the long narrative was finished.
course, I've heard of the hound ever since I was in
It's the pet story of the family, though I never thought
it seriously before. But as to my uncle's death --
well, it all
seems boiling up in my head, and I can't get it clear
don't seem quite to have made up your mind whether
it's a case
for a policeman or a clergyman."
"And now there's this affair of the letter
to me at the hotel. I
suppose that fits into its place."
"It seems to show that someone knows more than
we do about
what goes on upon the moor," said Dr. Mortimer.
"And also," said Holmes, "that someone is not
towards you, since they warn you of danger."
"Or it may be that they wish, for their own
purposes, to scare
"Well, of course, that is possible also. I
am very much
indebted to you, Dr. Mortimer, for introducing me
to a problem
which presents several interesting alternatives. But
point which we now have to decide, Sir Henry, is whether
it is or
is not advisable for you to go to Baskerville Hall."
"Why should I not go?"
"There seems to be danger."
"Do you mean danger from this family fiend
or do you mean
danger from human beings?"
"Well, that is what we have to find out."
"Whichever it is, my answer is fixed. There
is no devil in
hell, Mr. Holmes, and there is no man upon earth who
prevent me from going to the home of my own people,
may take that to be my final answer." His dark brows
and his face flushed to a dusky red as he spoke. It
that the fiery temper of the Baskervilles was not
extinct in this
their last representative. "Meanwhile," said he, "I
had time to think over all that you have told me.
It's a big thing
for a man to have to understand and to decide at one
should like to have a quiet hour by myself to make
up my mind.
Now, look here, Mr. Holmes, it's half-past eleven
now and I am
going back right away to my hotel.- Suppose you and
Dr. Watson, come round and lunch with us at two. I'll
be able to
tell you more clearly then how this thing strikes
"Is that convenient to you, Watson?"
"Then you may expect us. Shall I have a cab
"I'd prefer to walk, for this affair has flurried
"I'll join you in a walk, with pleasure," said
"Then we meet again at two o'clock. Au revoir,
We heard the steps of our visitors descend
the stair and the
bang of the front door. In an instant Holmes had changed
the languid dreamer to the man of action.
"Your hat and boots, Watson, quick! Not a moment
He rushed into his room in his dressing-gown and was
again in a few seconds in a frock-coat. We hurried
the stairs and into the street. Dr. Mortimer and Baskerville
still visible about two hundred yards ahead of us
in the direction
of Oxford Street.
"Shall I run on and stop them?"
"Not for the world, my dear Watson. I am perfectly
with your company if you will tolerate mine. Our friends
wise, for it is certainly a very fine morning for
He quickened his pace until we had decreased
which divided us by about half. Then, still keeping
yards behind, we followed into Oxford Street and so
Regent Street. Once our friends stopped and stared
into a shop
window, upon which Holmes did the same. An instant
wards he gave a little cry of satisfaction, and, following
direction of his eager eyes, I saw that a hansom cab
with a man
inside which had halted on the other side of the street
proceeding slowly onward again.
"There's our man, Watson! Come along! We'll
have a good
look at him, if we can do no more."
At that instant I was aware of a bushy black
beard and a pair
of piercing eyes turned upon us through the side window
cab. Instantly the trapdoor at the top flew up, something
screamed to the driver, and the cab flew madly off
Street. Holmes looked eagerly round for another, but
one was in sight. Then he dashed in wild pursuit amid
of the traffic, but the start was too great, and already
the cab was
out of sight.
"There now!" said Holmes bitterly as he emerged
white with vexation from the tide of vehicles. "Was
bad luck and such bad management, too? Watson, Watson,
you are an honest man you will record this also and
set it against
"Who was the man?"
"I have not an idea."
"Well, it was evident from what we have heard
ville has been very closely shadowed by someone since
been in town. How else could it be known so quickly
that it was
the Northumberland Hotel which he had chosen? If they
followed him the first day I argued that they would
also the second. You may have observed that I twice
over to the window while Dr. Mortimer was reading
"Yes, I remember."
"I was looking out for loiterers in the street,
but I saw none.
We are dealing with a clever man, Watson. This matter
deep, and though I have not finally made up my mind
is a benevolent or a malevolent agency which is in
touch with us,
I am conscious always of power and design. When our
left I at once followed them in the hopes of marking
invisible attendant. So wily was he that he had not
himself upon foot, but he had availed himself of a
cab so that he
could loiter behind or dash past them and so escape
His method had the additional advantage that if they
were to take
a cab he was all ready to follow them. It has, however,
"It puts him in the power of the cabman."
"What a pity we did not get the number!"
"My dear Watson, clumsy as I have been, you
surely do not
seriously imagine that I neglected to get the number?
is our man. But that is no use to us for the moment."
"I fail to see how you could have done more."
"On observing the cab I should have instantly
walked in the other direction. I should then at my
hired a second cab and followed the first at a respectful
or, better still, have driven to the Northumberland
waited there. When our unknown had followed Baskerville
we should have had the opportunity of playing his
upon himself and seeing where he made for. As it is,
indiscreet eagerness, which was taken advantage of
dinary quickness and energy by our opponent, we have
ourselves and lost our man."
We had been sauntering slowly down Regent Street
conversation, and Dr. Mortimer, with his companion,
vanished in front of us.
"There is no object in our following them,"
"The shadow has departed and will not return. We must
what further cards we have in our hands and play them
decision. Could you swear to that man's face within
"I could swear only to the beard."
"And so could I -- from which I gather that
in all probability it
was a false one. A clever man upon so delicate an
errand has no
use for a beard save to conceal his features. Come
He turned into one of the district messenger
offices, where he
was warmly greeted by the manager.
"Ah, Wilson, I see you have not forgotten the
little case in
which I had the good fortune to help you?"
"No, sir, indeed I have not. You saved my good
perhaps my life."
"My dear fellow, you exaggerate. I have some
Wilson, that you had among your boys a lad named Cartwright,
who showed some ability during the investigation."
"Yes, sir, he is still with us."
"Could you ring him up? -- thank you! And I
should be glad to
have change of this five-pound note."
A lad of fourteen, with a bright, keen face,
had obeyed the
summons of the manager. He stood now gazing with great
reverence at the famous detective.
"Let me have the Hotel Directory," said Holmes.
you! Now, Cartwright, there are the names of twenty-three
hotels here, all in the immediate neighbourhood of
Cross. Do you see?"
"You will visit each of these in turn."
"You will begin in each case by giving the
outside porter one
shilling. Here are twenty-three shillings."
"You will tell him that you want to see the
yesterday. You will say that an important telegram
ried and that you are looking for it. You understand?"
"But what you are really looking for is the
centre page of the
Times with some holes cut in it with scissors. Here
is a copy of
the Times. It is this page. You could easily recognize
"In each case the outside porter will send
for the hall porter,
to whom also you will give a shilling. Here are twenty-three
shillings. You will then learn in possibly twenty
cases out of the
twenty-three that the waste of the day before has
been burned or
removed. In the three other cases you will be shown
a heap of
paper and you will look for this page of the Times
among it. The
odds are enormously against your finding it. There
shillings over in case of emergencies. Let me have
a report by
wire at Baker Street before evening. And now, Watson,
remains for us to find out by wire the identity of
No. 2704, and then we will drop into one of the Bond
picture galleries and fill in the time until we are
due at the