Aolib.comFragment of Photochrom print of the front of Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany (ca. 1897)

The Hound of the Baskervilles »


By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“I seem to have walked right into the thick of a dime novel,” said our visitor. “Why in thunder should anyone follow or watch me?”

“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 reporting.”

“I think anything out of the ordinary routine of life well worth reporting.”

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 here.”

“You have lost one of your boots?”

“My dear sir,” cried Dr. Mortimer, “it is only mislaid. You 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 ordinary routine.”

“Exactly,” said Holmes, “however foolish the incident may 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 be cleaned?”

“They were tan boots and had never been varnished. That was why I put them out.”

“Then I understand that on your arrival in London yesterday 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,” said Sherlock 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 decision, “it 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 answered. “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 the deepest attention and with an occasional exclamation of surprise.

“Well, I seem to have come into an inheritance with a vengeance,” said he when the long narrative was finished. “Of course, I’ve heard of the hound ever since I was in the nursery. It’s the pet story of the family, though I never thought of taking 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 yet. You don’t seem quite to have made up your mind whether it’s a case for a policeman or a clergyman.”

“Precisely.”

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