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BOOK SUMMARY AND NOTES - The Hound of the Baskervilles
CHAPTER TEN: Extract from the Diary of Dr. Watson
The diary entries pick up the 16 th , the day after the report leaves off. The dreary weather is affecting everyone’s mood. Even the grounded Watson is pondering if the superstitions do after all have some legitimacy behind them, given the sounds heard on the moor, the locals’ reports of frequent sightings, and Sir Charles’s still unsolved death. He makes a resolution to keep his plans and findings to himself as much as possible, so as not to put additional stress on Sir Henry.
That same day, Barrymore
and Sir Henry have a heated discussion over what should be done about Selden.
The butler feels that they should not take advantage of his wife’s confession
to turn the man in and says that he will cause no problems for the countryside
if left alone until he is able to escape on a ship. Sir Henry has some reservations,
mostly out of concern for the Stapletons’s welfare, but eventually agrees.
In return for this favor, Barrymore shares a piece of information that he had previously kept secret out of concern for Sir Charles’s reputation. Only one letter had arrived that fateful day, from a woman in Coombe Tracey. Then, after his death, the Barrymores discovered the letter, mostly burnt (as the sender wished) but with the end still readable. It requests Sir Charles’s presence at the gate at 10:00, the time of his death, and is signed with the initials L.L. Watson sends off a report of this new information to Holmes immediately.
The next day brings similarly bad weather. Watson goes out to where he had seen the man that night they chased Selden, but there is no sign of him. He catches a ride back from Dr. Mortimer, who distraught over his missing and ill-fated pet spaniel. The doctor is able to supply the name of the L.L. signer-Laura Lyons. She is Mr. Frankland’s daughter but he does not concern himself with her much beyond supplying her with a small amount of money since her bad marriage fell apart. Others in the area, including Stapleton and Sir Charles, have helped her out in starting a typewriting business.
Watson decides to try to find the woman tomorrow. He also gathers some more information about the man on the moor. Barrymore tells him that Selden, whom there has been no sign of for three days, had mentioned that someone else was living out there. The man lived in the ruins of those ancient abandoned dwellings and a boy brought him his food.
Much like Rodger Baskerville, Selden has also found it necessary to flee England for South America. But as it turns out, the relatives of both the Baskervilles and the Barrymores will remain at the moor and die there.
Watson is also concerned about the other man on the moor. He is incorrect however in his statement that “[a] stranger then is still dogging us, just as a stranger dogged us in London.” He finds out the identity of the man at the end of the next chapter, and it is actually almost the reverse situation now (the suspect was watching Baskerville and Holmes and now Holmes is watching the suspect and Baskerville).