- He came over to call upon Baskerville on that first day, and
the very next morning he took us both to show us the spot where the legend of the wicked
Hugo is supposed to have had its origin. It was an excursion of some miles across the moor
to a place which is so dismal that it might have suggested the story. We found a short
valley between rugged tors which led to an open, grassy space flecked over with the white
cotton grass. In the middle of it rose two great stones, worn and sharpened at the upper
end until they looked like the huge corroding fangs of some monstrous beast. In every way
it corresponded with the scene of the old tragedy. Sir Henry was much interested and asked
Stapleton more than once whether he did really believe in the possibility of the
interference of the supernatural  in
the affairs of men. He spoke lightly, but it was evident that he was very much in earnest.
Stapleton was guarded in his replies, but it was easy to see that he said less than he
might, and that he would not express his whole opinion out of consideration for the
feelings of the baronet. He told us of similar cases, where families had suffered from
some evil influence, and he left us with the impression that he shared the popular view
upon the matter.
On our way back we stayed for lunch at Merripit House, and it
was there that Sir Henry made the acquaintance of Miss Stapleton. From the first moment
that he saw her he appeared to be strongly attracted by her, and I am much mistaken if the
feeling was not mutual. He referred to her again and again on our walk home, and since
then hardly a day has passed that we have not seen something of the brother and sister.
They dine here to-night, and there is some talk of our going to them next week. One would
imagine that such a match would be very welcome to Stapleton, and yet I have more than
once caught a look of the strongest disapprobation in his face when Sir Henry has been
paying some attention to his sister. He is much attached to her, no doubt, and would lead
a lonely life without her, but it would seem the height of selfishness if he were to stand
in the way of her making so brilliant a marriage. Yet I am certain that he does not wish
their intimacy to ripen into love, and I have several times observed that he has taken
pains to prevent them from being tete-a-tete. By the way, your instructions to me never to
allow Sir Henry to go out alone will become very much more onerous if a love affair were
to be added to our other difficulties. My popularity would soon suffer if I were to carry
out your orders to the letter.
The other dayThursday, to be more exactDr.
Mortimer lunched with us. He has been excavating a barrow at Long Down and has got a
prehistoric skull which fills him with great joy. Never was there such a single-minded
enthusiast as he! The Stapletons came in afterwards, and the good doctor took us all to
the yew alley at Sir Henrys request to show us exactly how everything occurred upon
that fatal night. It is a long, dismal walk, the yew alley, between two high walls of
clipped hedge, with a narrow band of grass upon either side. At the far end is an old
tumble-down summer-house. Halfway down is the moor-gate, where the old gentleman left his
cigar-ash. It is a white wooden gate with a latch. Beyond it lies the wide moor. I
remembered your theory of the affair and tried to picture all that had occurred. As the
old man stood there he saw something coming across the moor, something which terrified him
so that he lost his wits and ran and ran until he died of sheer horror and exhaustion.
There was the long, gloomy tunnel down which he fled. And from what? A sheep-dog of the
moor? Or a spectral hound, black, silent, and monstrous? Was there a human agency in the
matter? Did the pale, watchful Barrymore know more than he cared to say? It was all dim
and vague, but always there is the dark shadow of crime behind it.
- One other neighbour I have met since I wrote last. This is
Mr. Frankland, of Lafter Hall, who lives some four miles to the south of us. He is an
elderly man, red-faced, white-haired, and choleric. His passion is for the British law,
and he has spent a large fortune in litigation. He fights for the mere pleasure of
fighting and is equally ready to take up either side of a question, so that it is no
wonder that he has found it a costly amusement. Sometimes he will shut up a right of way
and defy the parish to make him open it. At others he will with his own hands tear down
some other mans gate and declare that a path has existed there from time immemorial,
defying the owner to prosecute him for trespass. He is learned in  old manorial and communal rights,
and he applies his knowledge sometimes in favour of the villagers of Fernworthy and
sometimes against them, so that he is periodically either carried in triumph down the
village street or else burned in effigy, according to his latest exploit. He is said to
have about seven lawsuits upon his hands at present, which will probably swallow up the
remainder of his fortune and so draw his sting and leave him harmless for the future.
Apart from the law he seems a kindly, good-natured person, and I only mention him because
you were particular that I should send some description of the people who surround us. He
is curiously employed at present, for, being an amateur astronomer, he has an excellent
telescope, with which he lies upon the roof of his own house and sweeps the moor all day
in the hope of catching a glimpse of the escaped convict. If he would confine his energies
to this all would be well, but there are rumours that he intends to prosecute Dr. Mortimer
for opening a grave without the consent of the next of kin because he dug up the neolithic
skull in the barrow on Long Down. He helps to keep our lives from being monotonous and
gives a little comic relief where it is badly needed.
And now, having brought you up to date in the escaped convict,
the Stapletons, Dr. Mortimer, and Frankland, of Lafter Hall, let me end on that which is
most important and tell you more about the Barrymores, and especially about the surprising
development of last night.
First of all about the test telegram, which you sent from
London in order to make sure that Barrymore was really here. I have already explained that
the testimony of the postmaster shows that the test was worthless and that we have no
proof one way or the other. I told Sir Henry how the matter stood, and he at once, in his
downright fashion, had Barrymore up and asked him whether he had received the telegram
himself. Barrymore said that he had.
Did the boy deliver it into your own hands? asked
Barrymore looked surprised, and considered for a little time.
No, said he, I was in the box-room at the
time, and my wife brought it up to me.
Did you answer it yourself?
No; I told my wife what to answer and she went down to
In the evening he recurred to the subject of his own accord.
I could not quite understand the object of your
questions this morning, Sir Henry, said he. I trust that they do not mean that
I have done anything to forfeit your confidence?
Sir Henry had to assure him that it was not so and pacify him
by giving him a considerable part of his old wardrobe, the London outfit having now all
Mrs. Barrymore is of interest to me. She is a heavy, solid
person, very limited, intensely respectable, and inclined to be puritanical. You could
hardly conceive a less emotional subject. Yet I have told you how, on the first night
here, I heard her sobbing bitterly, and since then I have more than once observed traces
of tears upon her face. Some deep sorrow gnaws ever at her heart. Sometimes I wonder if
she has a guilty memory which haunts her, and sometimes I suspect Barrymore of being a
domestic tyrant. I have always felt that there was something singular and questionable in
this mans character, but the adventure of last night brings all my suspicions to a
And yet it may seem a small matter in itself. You are aware
that I am not a very sound sleeper, and since I have been on guard in this house my
slumbers have  been
lighter than ever. Last night, about two in the morning, I was aroused by a stealthy step
passing my room. I rose, opened my door, and peeped out. A long black shadow was trailing
down the corridor. It was thrown by a man who walked softly down the passage with a candle
held in his hand. He was in shirt and trousers, with no covering to his feet. I could
merely see the outline, but his height told me that it was Barrymore. He walked very
slowly and circumspectly, and there was something indescribably guilty and furtive in his
I have told you that the corridor is broken by the balcony
which runs round the hall, but that it is resumed upon the farther side. I waited until he
had passed out of sight and then I followed him. When I came round the balcony he had
reached the end of the farther corridor, and I could see from the glimmer of light through
an open door that he had entered one of the rooms. Now, all these rooms are unfurnished
and unoccupied, so that his expedition became more mysterious than ever. The light shone
steadily as if he were standing motionless. I crept down the passage as noiselessly as I
could and peeped round the corner of the door.
- Barrymore was crouching at the window with the candle held
against the glass. His profile was half turned towards me, and his face seemed to be rigid
with expectation as he stared out into the blackness of the moor. For some minutes he
stood watching intently. Then he gave a deep groan and with an impatient gesture he put
out the light. Instantly I made my way back to my room, and very shortly came the stealthy
steps passing once more upon their return journey. Long afterwards when I had fallen into
a light sleep I heard a key turn somewhere in a lock, but I could not tell whence the
sound came. What it all means I cannot guess, but there is some secret business going on
in this house of gloom which sooner or later we shall get to the bottom of. I do not
trouble you with my theories, for you asked me to furnish you only with facts. I have had
a long talk with Sir Henry this morning, and we have made a plan of campaign founded upon
my observations of last night. I will not speak about it just now, but it should make my
next report interesting reading.