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

“On the night of Sir Charles’s death Barrymore the butler, who made the discovery, sent Perkins the groom on horseback to me, and as I was sitting up late I was able to reach Baskerville Hall within an hour of the event. I checked and corroborated all the facts which were mentioned at the inquest. I followed the footsteps down the yew alley, I saw the spot at the moor—gate where he seemed to have waited, I remarked the change in the shape of the prints after that point, I noted that there were no other footsteps save those of Barrymore on the soft gravel, and finally I carefully examined the body, which had not been touched until my arrival. Sir Charles lay on his face, his arms out, his fingers dug into the ground, and his features convulsed with some strong emotion to such an extent that I could hardly have sworn to his identity. There was certainly no physical injury of any kind. But one false statement was made by Barrymore at the inquest. He said that there were no traces upon the ground round the body. He did not observe any. But I did–some little distance off, but fresh and clear.”

“Footprints?”

“Footprints.”

“A man’s or a woman’s?”

Dr. Mortimer looked strangely at us for an instant, and his voice sank almost to a whisper as he answered.

“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!”

Chapter 3. The Problem

I confess at these words a shudder passed through me. There was a thrill in the doctor’s voice which showed that he was himself deeply moved by that which he told us. Holmes leaned forward in his excitement and his eyes had the hard, dry glitter which shot from them when he was keenly interested.

“You saw this?”

“As clearly as I see you.”

“And you said nothing?”

“What was the use?”

“How was it that no one else saw it?”

“The marks were some twenty yards from the body and no one gave them a thought. I don’t suppose I should have done so had I not known this legend.”

“There are many sheep—dogs on the moor?”

“No doubt, but this was no sheep—dog.”

“You say it was large?”

“Enormous.”

“But it had not approached the body?”

“No.”

“What sort of night was it?’

“Damp and raw.”

“But not actually raining?”

“No.”

“What is the alley like?”

“There are two lines of old yew hedge, twelve feet high and impenetrable. The walk in the centre is about eight feet across.”

“Is there anything between the hedges and the walk?”

“Yes, there is a strip of grass about six feet broad on either side.”

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