The story takes place in October 1889 in a fictional village called Grimpen, in the moors of Dartmoor National Park in Devonshire.
It opens up in London on the stormy night of October 1, 1889, in the home of Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. John Watson.
They are visited by Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry Baskerville. Holmes addresses the issue at hand: Sir Henry intends to claim his inhertance at Baskerville Hall, a mysterious mansion out on the Devonshire moors which is believed by many to be haunted and have an evil and criminally sinister past.
Back in 1647, Sir Hugo Baskerville cursed the entire family that anybody who treaded onto the moor at night alone would be brutally killed by a powerful supernatural hound. Hugo Baskerville was the first to die, after running for his life.
Sir Henry Baskerville dismisses this, believing it to be legend. Mortimer tells Holmes that Sir Henrys uncle Charles was the latest to die, on May 4, and that he took the curse very seriously, although Sir Henry dismisses his death as heart failure.
Holmes interviews Mortimer, who had examined the body, of the events. Mortimer had noticed that near the body were footprints belonging to that of a gigantic hound. When Mortimer continues to believe that Sir Henry is in danger, Holmes sends Watson with Mortimer and Sir Henry to Baskerville Hall.
Holmes, going undercover, follows the group to Baskerville Hall, and is so careful at hiding that everyone thinks that Holmes is still in London. On October 13, Holmes sees a portrait of Sir Hugo Baskerville and knows that hes seen that face before.
Holmes secretly follows Watson as he enters Merripit House, the home of the nearby neighbor: Jack Stapleton. Stapleton is a clever man, telling Watson that if Holmes wasnt investigating, Watson wouldnt be at his house.
Sir Henry and Jacks sister Beryl arrive at the house. Sir Henry tells Jack that he plans to build a school for the local children using some of his uncles money.
They then hear a loud howling noise, with Stapleton saying that the moor makes strange sounds. Holmes, spying on them through the window, realizes that Stapleton is very familiar and has trouble recognizing his face.
Later that day, Holmes stares at the portrait of Sir Hugo Baskerville, and imagines that it is that of Jack Stapleton. Now realizing why the face is familiar, he runs off to Merripit House, and spies on Jack Stapleton, who rips off his beard, revealing it to be a disguise. With the truth out, Holmes runs off to find Watson.
On the night of October 19, Holmes leads Watson to the dining hall to see the portrait of Sir Hugo Baskerville. Holmes explains that Stapleton is a direct descendant of Sir Hugo Baskerville, and wants the Baskerville fortune all for himself, and is willing to kill anyone who is in his way. Realizing that Sir Henry is dining with the Stapletons at Merripit House, and that Stapleton has set Sir Henry up in a trap, they run to Merripit House to save Sir Henry.
At Merripit House, Beryl is revealed to be bound and gagged to a chair, and Stapleton lies to a suspicious Sir Henry that it is rodents. Upon hearing a howl in the distance, Sir Henry makes leave for Baskerville Hall. As Sir Henry leaves, Stapleton sneaks off.
Holmes and Watson arrive at the house, and Holmes tells Watson that Stapleton knew that Sir Charles had a weak heart, and was obsessed with the legend of the hound; this would be his downfall, as Stapleton used it to his advantage to kill Sir Charles by making him suffer a fatal heart attack, and that Sir Henry is next to die.
Holmes and Watson hear a howl, and wander out into the foggy moor. They hear movement and hide to see who it is; the movement is revealed to be Sir Henrys movement.
Sir Henry turns around in fright upon hearing the howl again, and finds Stapleton standing behind him, with the hound at his heels. While Sir Henry backs up against a tree, Watson draws a gun and chases after Stapleton. Holmes runs towards him while gunshots are fired. Watson appears with phosphorus coating his hand.
Holmes deduces that Stapleton painted the hound with phosphorus to scare Sir Henry and starved it so much to the point where it would viciously kill practically anything, and he unleashed the hound. Holmes and Watson pursue Stapleton with the intent of capturing him so that he cannot harm anyone else.
At the end of the story, Holmes and Watson have returned to London, with Sir Henry safe, and Stapleton punished for his crimes, presumably arrested and sent to jail.
The Hound of the Baskervilles Chapter 14 Full Text
XIV. — THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
ONE of Sherlock Holmes’s defects—if, indeed, one may call it a defect—was that he was exceedingly loath to communicate his full plans to any other person until the instant of their fulfilment. Partly it came no doubt from his own masterful nature, which loved to dominate and surprise those who were around him. Partly also from his professional caution, which urged him never to take any chances. The result, however, was very trying for those who were acting as his agents and assistants. I had often suffered under it, but never more so than during that long drive in the darkness. The great ordeal was in front of us; at last we were about to make our final effort, and yet Holmes had said nothing, and I could only surmise what his course of action would be. My nerves thrilled with anticipation when at last the cold wind upon our faces and the dark, void spaces on either side of the narrow road told me that we were back upon the moor once again. Every stride of the horses and every turn of the wheels was taking us nearer to our supreme adventure.
Our conversation was hampered by the presence of the driver of the hired wagonette, so that we were forced to talk of trivial matters when our nerves were tense with emotion and anticipation. It was a relief to me, after that unnatural restraint, when we at last passed Frankland’s house and knew that we were drawing near to the Hall and to the scene of action. We did not drive up to the door but got down near the gate of the avenue. The wagonette was paid off and ordered to return to Coombe Tracey forthwith, while we started to walk to Merripit House.
“As long as I have my trousers I have a hip-pocket, and as long as I have my hip-pocket I have something in it.”
“Good! My friend and I are also ready for emergencies.”
“You’re mighty close about this affair, Mr. Holmes. What’s the game now?”
“My word, it does not seem a very cheerful place,” said the detective with a shiver, glancing round him at the gloomy slopes of the hill and at the huge lake of fog which lay over the Grimpen Mire. “I see the lights of a house ahead of us.”
“That is Merripit House and the end of our journey. I must request you to walk on tiptoe and not to talk above a whisper.”
We moved cautiously along the track as if we were bound for the house, but Holmes halted us when we were about two hundred yards from it.
“This will do,” said he. “These rocks upon the right make an admirable screen.”
“Yes, we shall make our little ambush here. Get into this hollow, Lestrade. You have been inside the house, have you not, Watson? Can you tell the position of the rooms? What are those latticed windows at this end?”
“I think they are the kitchen windows.”
“And the one beyond, which shines so brightly?”
“The blinds are up. You know the lie of the land best. Creep forward quietly and see what they are doing—but for heaven’s sake don’t let them know that they are watched!”
I tiptoed down the path and stooped behind the low wall which surrounded the stunted orchard. Creeping in its shadow I reached a point whence I could look straight through the uncurtained window.
There were only two men in the room, Sir Henry and Stapleton. They sat with their profiles towards me on either side of the round table. Both of them were smoking cigars, and coffee and wine were in front of them. Stapleton was talking with animation, but the baronet looked pale and distrait. Perhaps the thought of that lonely walk across the ill-omened moor was weighing heavily upon his mind.
As I watched them Stapleton rose and left the room, while Sir Henry filled his glass again and leaned back in his chair, puffing at his cigar. I heard the creak of a door and the crisp sound of boots upon gravel. The steps passed along the path on the other side of the wall under which I crouched. Looking over, I saw the naturalist pause at the door of an out-house in the corner of the orchard. A key turned in a lock, and as he passed in there was a curious scuffling noise from within. He was only a minute or so inside, and then I heard the key turn once more and he passed me and re-entered the house. I saw him rejoin his guest, and I crept quietly back to where my companions were waiting to tell them what I had seen.
“You say, Watson, that the lady is not there?” Holmes asked, when I had finished my report.
“Where can she be, then, since there is no light in any other room except the kitchen?”
“I cannot think where she is.”
I have said that over the great Grimpen Mire there hung a dense, white fog. It was drifting slowly in our direction, and banked itself up like a wall on that side of us, low, but thick and well defined. The moon shone on it, and it looked like a great shimmering ice-field, with the heads of the distant tors as rocks borne upon its surface. Holmes’s face was turned towards it, and he muttered impatiently as he watched its sluggish drift.
“Very serious, indeed—the one thing upon earth which could have disarranged my plans. He can’t be very long, now. It is already ten o’clock. Our success and even his life may depend upon his coming out before the fog is over the path.”
The night was clear and fine above us. The stars shone cold and bright, while a half-moon bathed the whole scene in a soft, uncertain light. Before us lay the dark bulk of the house, its serrated roof and bristling chimneys hard outlined against the silver-spangled sky. Broad bars of golden light from the lower windows stretched across the orchard and the moor. One of them was suddenly shut off. The servants had left the kitchen. There only remained the lamp in the dining-room where the two men, the murderous host and the unconscious guest, still chatted over their cigars.
Every minute that white woolly plain which covered one half of the moor was drifting closer and closer to the house. Already the first thin wisps of it were curling across the golden square of the lighted window. The farther wall of the orchard was already invisible, and the trees were standing out of a swirl of white vapour. As we watched it the fog-wreaths came crawling round both corners of the house and rolled slowly into one dense bank, on which the upper floor and the roof floated like a strange ship upon a shadowy sea. Holmes struck his hand passionately upon the rock in front of us and stamped his feet in his impatience.
“If he isn’t out in a quarter of an hour the path will be covered. In half an hour we won’t be able to see our hands in front of us.”
“Shall we move farther back upon higher ground?”
“Yes, I think it would be as well.”
So as the fog-bank flowed onward we fell back before it until we were half a mile from the house, and still that dense white sea, with the moon silvering its upper edge, swept slowly and inexorably on.
“We are going too far,” said Holmes. “We dare not take the chance of his being overtaken before he can reach us. At all costs we must hold our ground where we are.” He dropped on his knees and clapped his ear to the ground. “Thank God, I think that I hear him coming.”
A sound of quick steps broke the silence of the moor. Crouching among the stones we stared intently at the silver-tipped bank in front of us. The steps grew louder, and through the fog, as through a curtain, there stepped the man whom we were awaiting. He looked round him in surprise as he emerged into the clear, starlit night. Then he came swiftly along the path, passed close to where we lay, and went on up the long slope behind us. As he walked he glanced continually over either shoulder, like a man who is ill at ease.
“Hist!” cried Holmes, and I heard the sharp click of a cocking pistol. “Look out! It’s coming!”
There was a thin, crisp, continuous patter from somewhere in the heart of that crawling bank. The cloud was within fifty yards of where we lay, and we glared at it, all three, uncertain what horror was about to break from the heart of it. I was at Holmes’s elbow, and I glanced for an instant at his face. It was pale and exultant, his eyes shining brightly in the moonlight. But suddenly they started forward in a rigid, fixed stare, and his lips parted in amazement. At the same instant Lestrade gave a yell of terror and threw himself face downward upon the ground. I sprang to my feet, my inert hand grasping my pistol, my mind paralysed by the dreadful shape which had sprung out upon us from the shadows of the fog.
A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog.
With long bounds the huge black creature was leaping down the track, following hard upon the footsteps of our friend. So paralysed were we by the apparition that we allowed him to pass before we had recovered our nerve. Then Holmes and I both fired together, and the creature gave a hideous howl, which showed that one at least had hit him. He did not pause, however, but bounded onward. Far away on the path we saw Sir Henry looking back, his face white in the moonlight, his hands raised in horror, glaring helplessly at the frightful thing which was hunting him down.
But that cry of pain from the hound had blown all our fears to the winds. If he was vulnerable he was mortal, and if we could wound him we could kill him. Never have I seen a man run as Holmes ran that night. I am reckoned fleet of foot, but he outpaced me as much as I outpaced the little professional. In front of us as we flew up the track we heard scream after scream from Sir Henry and the deep roar of the hound. I was in time to see the beast spring upon its victim, hurl him to the ground, and worry at his throat.
But the next instant Holmes had emptied five barrels of his revolver into the creature’s flank. With a last howl of agony and a vicious snap in the air, it rolled upon its back, four feet pawing furiously, and then fell limp upon its side. I stooped, panting, and pressed my pistol to the dreadful, shimmering head, but it was useless to press the trigger. The giant hound was dead.
Sir Henry lay insensible where he had fallen. We tore away his collar, and Holmes breathed a prayer of gratitude when we saw that there was no sign of a wound and that the rescue had been in time. Already our friend’s eyelids shivered and he made a feeble effort to move. Lestrade thrust his brandy-flask between the baronet’s teeth, and two frightened eyes were looking up at us.
“My God!” he whispered. “What was it? What, in heaven’s name, was it?”
“It’s dead, whatever it is,” said Holmes. “We’ve laid the family ghost once and forever.”
In mere size and strength it was a terrible creature which was lying stretched before us. It was not a pure bloodhound and it was not a pure mastiff; but it appeared to be a combination of the two—gaunt, savage, and as large as a small lioness. Even now, in the stillness of death, the huge jaws seemed to be dripping with a bluish flame and the small, deep-set, cruel eyes were ringed with fire. I placed my hand upon the glowing muzzle, and as I held them up my own fingers smouldered and gleamed in the darkness.
“A cunning preparation of it,” said Holmes, sniffing at the dead animal. “There is no smell which might have interfered with his power of scent. We owe you a deep apology, Sir Henry, for having exposed you to this fright. I was prepared for a hound, but not for such a creature as this. And the fog gave us little time to receive him.”
“Having first endangered it. Are you strong enough to stand?”
“Give me another mouthful of that brandy and I shall be ready for anything. So! Now, if you will help me up. What do you propose to do?”
“To leave you here. You are not fit for further adventures to-night. If you will wait, one or other of us will go back with you to the Hall.”
He tried to stagger to his feet; but he was still ghastly pale and trembling in every limb. We helped him to a rock, where he sat shivering with his face buried in his hands.
“We must leave you now,” said Holmes. “The rest of our work must be done, and every moment is of importance. We have our case, and now we only want our man.
“It’s a thousand to one against our finding him at the house,” he continued as we retraced our steps swiftly down the path. “Those shots must have told him that the game was up.”
“We were some distance off, and this fog may have deadened them.”
“He followed the hound to call him off—of that you may be certain. No, no, he’s gone by this time! But we’ll search the house and make sure.”
The front door was open, so we rushed in and hurried from room to room to the amazement of a doddering old manservant, who met us in the passage. There was no light save in the dining-room, but Holmes caught up the lamp and left no corner of the house unexplored. No sign could we see of the man whom we were chasing. On the upper floor, however, one of the bedroom doors was locked.
“There’s someone in here,” cried Lestrade. “I can hear a movement. Open this door!”
A faint moaning and rustling came from within. Holmes struck the door just over the lock with the flat of his foot and it flew open. Pistol in hand, we all three rushed into the room.
But there was no sign within it of that desperate and defiant villain whom we expected to see. Instead we were faced by an object so strange and so unexpected that we stood for a moment staring at it in amazement.
The room had been fashioned into a small museum, and the walls were lined by a number of glass-topped cases full of that collection of butterflies and moths the formation of which had been the relaxation of this complex and dangerous man. In the centre of this room there was an upright beam, which had been placed at some period as a support for the old worm-eaten baulk of timber which spanned the roof. To this post a figure was tied, so swathed and muffled in the sheets which had been used to secure it that one could not for the moment tell whether it was that of a man or a woman. One towel passed round the throat and was secured at the back of the pillar. Another covered the lower part of the face, and over it two dark eyes—eyes full of grief and shame and a dreadful questioning—stared back at us. In a minute we had torn off the gag, unswathed the bonds, and Mrs. Stapleton sank upon the floor in front of us. As her beautiful head fell upon her chest I saw the clear red weal of a whiplash across her neck.
“The brute!” cried Holmes. “Here, Lestrade, your brandy-bottle! Put her in the chair! She has fainted from ill-usage and exhaustion.”
“Is he safe?” she asked. “Has he escaped?”
“No, no, I did not mean my husband. Sir Henry? Is he safe?”
She gave a long sigh of satisfaction.
“Thank God! Thank God! Oh, this villain! See how he has treated me!” She shot her arms out from her sleeves, and we saw with horror that they were all mottled with bruises. “But this is nothing—nothing! It is my mind and soul that he has tortured and defiled. I could endure it all, ill-usage, solitude, a life of deception, everything, as long as I could still cling to the hope that I had his love, but now I know that in this also I have been his dupe and his tool.” She broke into passionate sobbing as she spoke.
“You bear him no good will, madam,” said Holmes. “Tell us then where we shall find him. If you have ever aided him in evil, help us now and so atone.”
“There is but one place where he can have fled,” she answered. “There is an old tin mine on an island in the heart of the mire. It was there that he kept his hound and there also he had made preparations so that he might have a refuge. That is where he would fly.”
The fog-bank lay like white wool against the window. Holmes held the lamp towards it.
“See,” said he. “No one could find his way into the Grimpen Mire to-night.”
She laughed and clapped her hands. Her eyes and teeth gleamed with fierce merriment
“He may find his way in, but never out,” she cried. “How can he see the guiding wands to-night? We planted them together, he and I, to mark the pathway through the mire. Oh, if I could only have plucked them out to-day. Then indeed you would have had him at your mercy!”
It was evident to us that all pursuit was in vain until the fog had lifted. Meanwhile we left Lestrade in possession of the house while Holmes and I went back with the baronet to Baskerville Hall. The story of the Stapletons could no longer be withheld from him, but he took the blow bravely when he learned the truth about the woman whom he had loved. But the shock of the night’s adventures had shattered his nerves, and before morning he lay delirious in a high fever, under the care of Dr. Mortimer. The two of them were destined to travel together round the world before Sir Henry had become once more the hale, hearty man that he had been before he became master of that ill-omened estate.
And now I come rapidly to the conclusion of this singular narrative, in which I have tried to make the reader share those dark fears and vague surmises which clouded our lives so long and ended in so tragic a manner. On the morning after the death of the hound the fog had lifted and we were guided by Mrs.Stapleton to the point where they had found a pathway through the bog. It helped us to realise the horror of this woman’s life when we saw the eagerness and joy with which she laid us on her husband’s track. We left her standing upon the thin peninsula of firm, peaty soil which tapered out into the widespread bog. From the end of it a small wand planted here and there showed where the path zigzagged from tuft to tuft of rushes among those green-scummed pits and foul quagmires which barred the way to the stranger. Rank reeds and lush, slimy water-plants sent an odour of decay and a heavy miasmatic vapour onto our faces, while a false step plunged us more than once thigh-deep into the dark, quivering mire, which shook for yards in soft undulations around our feet. Its tenacious grip plucked at our heels as we walked, and when we sank into it it was as if some malignant hand was tugging us down into those obscene depths, so grim and purposeful was the clutch in which it held us. Once only we saw a trace that someone had passed that perilous way before us. From amid a tuft of cotton grass which bore it up out of the slime some dark thing was projecting. Holmes sank to his waist as he stepped from the path to seize it, and had we not been there to drag him out he could never have set his foot upon firm land again. He held an old black boot in the air. “Meyers, Toronto,” was printed on the leather inside.
“It is worth a mud bath,” said he. “It is our friend Sir Henry’s missing boot.”
“Thrown there by Stapleton in his flight.”
“Exactly. He retained it in his hand after using it to set the hound upon the track. He fled when he knew the game was up, still clutching it. And he hurled it away at this point of his flight. We know at least that he came so far in safety.”
But more than that we were never destined to know, though there was much which we might surmise. There was no chance of finding footsteps in the mire, for the rising mud oozed swiftly in upon them, but as we at last reached firmer ground beyond the morass we all looked eagerly for them. But no slightest sign of them ever met our eyes. If the earth told a true story, then Stapleton never reached that island of refuge towards which he struggled through the fog upon that last night. Somewhere in the heart of the great Grimpen Mire, down in the foul slime of the huge morass which had sucked him in, this cold and cruel-hearted man is forever buried.
Many traces we found of him in the bog-girt island where he had hid his savage ally. A huge driving-wheel and a shaft half-filled with rubbish showed the position of an abandoned mine. Beside it were the crumbling remains of the cottages of the miners, driven away no doubt by the foul reek of the surrounding swamp. In one of these a staple and chain with a quantity of gnawed bones showed where the animal had been confined. A skeleton with a tangle of brown hair adhering to it lay among the debris.
“A dog!” said Holmes. “By Jove, a curly-haired spaniel. Poor Mortimer will never see his pet again. Well, I do not know that this place contains any secret which we have not already fathomed. He could hide his hound, but he could not hush its voice, and hence came those cries which even in daylight were not pleasant to hear. On an emergency he could keep the hound in the out-house at Merripit, but it was always a risk, and it was only on the supreme day, which he regarded as the end of all his efforts, that he dared do it. This paste in the tin is no doubt the luminous mixture with which the creature was daubed. It was suggested, of course, by the story of the family hell-hound, and by the desire to frighten old Sir Charles to death. No wonder the poor devil of a convict ran and screamed, even as our friend did, and as we ourselves might have done, when he saw such a creature bounding through the darkness of the moor upon his track. It was a cunning device, for, apart from the chance of driving your victim to his death, what peasant would venture to inquire too closely into such a creature should he get sight of it, as many have done, upon the moor? I said it in London, Watson, and I say it again now, that never yet have we helped to hunt down a more dangerous man than he who is lying yonder”—he swept his long arm towards the huge mottled expanse of green-splotched bog which stretched away until it merged into the russet slopes of the moor.
Chapter XV: A Retrospection
In this final chapter, Watson recounts everything Holmes later told him about the case.
At the end of November, about a month after the events near Baskerville, Watson feels comfortable asking for more information, since Holmes has since solved two other cases. Holmes declares that the case was only difficult because they did not know Stapletons motive, but that he has learned much from two long conversations with Miss Stapleton.
Stapleton – as Holmes continues to call him – was the son of Rodger Baskerville, Sir Charless younger brother. When he died in South America, Rodger left behind one son, also named Rodger. This boy, who would later be known as Stapleton, stole money and fled to England, where he set up a school and changed his name to Vandeleur. When the school failed, he made inquiries into the Baskerville estate, and then moved to Devonshire. Though he had not yet formed an exact plan, he cultivated a friendship with Sir Charles and passed Beryl off as his sister. It was there that he learned about the legend of the hound, as well as about Sir Charless weak heart and innate fear of the legend. It was then that he concocted his plan: he bought a large dog in London, devised the artificial means of making the creature seem so fearsome, and intended to use his wife to lure Sir Charles out into the moor at night. However, when she refused, he struck up a relationship with Laura Lyons to accomplish that purpose.
Laura lured Sir Charles out that night by appealing to his mercy; he was going to give her money to secure her divorce. Stapleton convinced her not to go, and set the hound out, which terrified poor Sir Charles to death. The hound then retreated, leaving the pawprint that Dr. Mortimer would later see. Both women at that point suspected Stapleton of the murder, but were too much under his influence to take any action.
When Sir Henry was set to arrive to England, Stapleton took his wife with him to London, as he distrusted her. From that place, she sent the note of warning that Sir Henry received. Stapleton stole one of Sir Henrys boots from the hotel, in order to acquaint the hound with his scent. But when Stapleton discovered that the first boot was too new to carry any personal scent, he had to steal an older one. It was the robbery of this second boot that initially convinced Holmes that they were indeed dealing with a real hound.
Partially because of how cleverly Stapleton eluded him while in London, Holmes believes that the mans criminal past was greater than they know. He cites four unsolved burglaries in the area around the moor, in one of which a page lost his life after surprising the burglar. Holmes suspects that Stapleton returned to Devonshire only after realizing that Holmes was on the case in London.
Watson then inquires as to how Stapleton took care of the hound while he was away. Holmes speculates that an old manservant took care of it. This man, named Anthony, has since disappeared from Merripit House, and Holmes believes that this man was actually a South American named Antonio.
Holmes then adds that he could smell white jessamine on the warning note that was sent to Sir Henry. From that detail, he immediately suspected the Stapletons, since Dr. Mortimer had not mentioned many other females who lived out on the moor. Knowing he needed to watch Stapleton, but that the culprit would be too cautious if Holmes were out on the moor, Holmes engineered the ruse of sending Watson alone. However, even from his hidden position, Holmes discovered that he could not collect enough evidence to convict Stapleton unless he caught the man red-handed.
Finally, they discuss Miss Stapleton. Both men believe that Sir Henrys turmoil after the incident is due in large part to a broken heart; he actually did love Miss Stapleton. However, his world trip with Dr. Mortimer is proving an excellent salve to his pain. Though he has no proof of her true feelings for Sir Henry, Holmes does know that Miss Stapleton attempted to stop her husband on the night of the murder, which is why he tied her up.
Watson asks two follow-up questions. First, how could Stapleton have known that the hound would kill Sir Henry, especially since the man had no known health problems? Holmes replies that the animal had been starved, and that its savage appearance would certainly have incapacitated Sir Henrys resistance, even if it did not immediately terrify him to death.
Secondly, how was Stapleton going to explain that he was actually a Baskerville after Sir Henrys death, without raising suspicion?
To this question, Holmes admits that he does not know the answer: “The past and the present are within the field of my inquiry, but what a man may do in the future is a hard question to answer” (318). He speculates that Stapleton might have returned to South America to establish his claim from there, or that he might have taken a disguise in London. Finally, he considers that Stapleton might have used someone else to claim the estate.
Holmes then invites Watson to join him for dinner and a show.
In the last chapter, we receive all the details of the case which were not accounted for through the adventure. This is notable because it reveals one responsibility of the detective story: it must tie up all loose ends and clues. Many Holmes scholars have tried to re-interpret some of his cases, to prove Sherlock Holmes wrong. Wanting to prevent this and ensure narrative conviction for all his readers, Doyle ensures that the details of his construction are firmly established, along with the final caveat that Holmes cannot tell the future.
This final chapter also frames the detective story as something of a hist