What is it? we both cried.
I could see as he looked down that he was repressing some
internal emotion. His features were still composed, but his eyes shone with amused
Excuse the admiration of a connoisseur, said he as
he waved his hand towards the line of portraits which covered the opposite wall.
Watson wont allow that I know anything of art, but that is mere jealousy
because our views upon the subject differ. Now, these are a really very fine series of
Well, Im glad to hear you say so, said Sir
Henry, glancing with some surprise at my friend. I dont pretend to know much
about these things, and Id be a better judge of a horse or a steer than of a
picture. I didnt know that you found time for such things.
I know what is good when I see it, and I see it now.
Thats a Kneller, Ill swear, that lady in the blue silk over yonder, and the
stout gentleman with the wig ought to be a Reynolds. They are all family portraits, I
Do you know the names?
Barrymore has been coaching me in them, and I think I
can say my lessons fairly well.
Who is the gentleman with the telescope?
That is Rear-Admiral Baskerville, who served under
Rodney in the West Indies. The man with the blue coat and the roll of paper is Sir William
Baskerville, who was Chairman of Committees of the House of Commons under Pitt.
And this Cavalier opposite to methe one with the
black velvet and the lace?
Ah, you have a right to know about him. That is the
cause of all the mischief, the wicked Hugo, who started the Hound of the Baskervilles.
Were not likely to forget him.
I gazed with interest and some surprise upon the portrait.
Dear me! said Holmes, he seems a quiet,
meek-mannered man enough, but I dare say that there was a lurking devil in his eyes. I had
pictured him as a more robust and ruffianly person.
no doubt about the authenticity, for the name and the date, 1647, are on the back of the
Holmes said little more, but the picture of the old roysterer
seemed to have a fascination for him, and his eyes were continually fixed upon it during
supper. It was not until later, when Sir Henry had gone to his room, that I was able to
follow the trend of his thoughts. He led me back into the banqueting-hall, his bedroom
candle in his hand, and he held it up against the time-stained portrait on the wall.
Do you see anything there?
I looked at the broad plumed hat, the curling love-locks, the
white lace collar, and the straight, severe face which was framed between them. It was not
a brutal countenance, but it was prim, hard, and stern, with a firm-set, thin-lipped
mouth, and a coldly intolerant eye.
Is it like anyone you know?
There is something of Sir Henry about the jaw.
Just a suggestion, perhaps. But wait an instant!
He stood upon a chair, and, holding up the light in his left hand, he curved his right arm
over the broad hat and round the long ringlets.
Good heavens! I cried in amazement.
The face of Stapleton had sprung out of the canvas.
Ha, you see it now. My eyes have been trained to examine
faces and not their trimmings. It is the first quality of a criminal investigator that he
should see through a disguise.
But this is marvellous. It might be his portrait.
Yes, it is an interesting instance of a throwback, which
appears to be both physical and spiritual. A study of family portraits is enough to
convert a man to the doctrine of reincarnation. The fellow is a Baskervillethat is
With designs upon the succession.
Exactly. This chance of the picture has supplied us with
one of our most obvious missing links. We have him, Watson, we have him, and I dare swear
that before to-morrow night he will be fluttering in our net as helpless as one of his own
butterflies. A pin, a cork, and a card, and we add him to the Baker Street
collection! He burst into one of his rare fits of laughter as he turned away from
the picture. I have not heard him laugh often, and it has always boded ill to somebody.
I was up betimes in the morning, but Holmes was afoot earlier
still, for I saw him as I dressed, coming up the drive.
Yes, we should have a full day to-day, he
remarked, and he rubbed his hands with the joy of action. The nets are all in place,
and the drag is about to begin. Well know before the day is out whether we have
caught our big, lean-jawed pike, or whether he has got through the meshes.
Have you been on the moor already?
I have sent a report from Grimpen to Princetown as to
the death of Selden. I think I can promise that none of you will be troubled in the
matter. And I have also communicated with my faithful Cartwright, who would certainly have
pined away at the door of my hut, as a dog does at his masters grave, if I had not
set his mind at rest about my safety.
What is the next move?
To see Sir Henry. Ah, here he is!
Holmes, said the baronet. You look like a general who is planning a battle
with his chief of the staff.
That is the exact situation. Watson was asking for
And so do I.
Very good. You are engaged, as I understand, to dine
with our friends the Stapletons to-night.
I hope that you will come also. They are very hospitable
people, and I am sure that they would be very glad to see you.
I fear that Watson and I must go to London.
Yes, I think that we should be more useful there at the
The baronets face perceptibly lengthened.
I hoped that you were going to see me through this
business. The Hall and the moor are not very pleasant places when one is alone.
My dear fellow, you must trust me implicitly and do
exactly what I tell you. You can tell your friends that we should have been happy to have
come with you, but that urgent business required us to be in town. We hope very soon to
return to Devonshire. Will you remember to give them that message?
If you insist upon it.
There is no alternative, I assure you.
I saw by the baronets clouded brow that he was deeply
hurt by what he regarded as our desertion.
When do you desire to go? he asked coldly.
Immediately after breakfast. We will drive in to Coombe
Tracey, but Watson will leave his things as a pledge that he will come back to you.
Watson, you will send a note to Stapleton to tell him that you regret that you cannot
I have a good mind to go to London with you, said
the baronet. Why should I stay here alone?
Because it is your post of duty. Because you gave me
your word that you would do as you were told, and I tell you to stay.
All right, then, Ill stay.
One more direction! I wish you to drive to Merripit
House. Send back your trap, however, and let them know that you intend to walk home.
To walk across the moor?
But that is the very thing which you have so often
cautioned me not to do.
This time you may do it with safety. If I had not every
confidence in your nerve and courage I would not suggest it, but it is essential that you
should do it.
Then I will do it.
And as you value your life do not go across the moor in
any direction save along the straight path which leads from Merripit House to the Grimpen
Road, and is your natural way home.
I will do just what you say.
Very good. I should be glad to get away as soon after
breakfast as possible, so as to reach London in the afternoon.
I was much astounded by this programme, though I remembered
that Holmes had said to Stapleton on the night before that his visit would terminate next
day. It had not crossed my mind, however, that he would wish me to go with him, nor could
I understand how we could both be absent at a moment which he himself  declared to be critical. There was
nothing for it, however, but implicit obedience; so we bade good-bye to our rueful friend,
and a couple of hours afterwards we were at the station of Coombe Tracey and had
dispatched the trap upon its return journey. A small boy was waiting upon the platform.
Any orders, sir?
You will take this train to town, Cartwright. The moment
you arrive you will send a wire to Sir Henry Baskerville, in my name, to say that if he
finds the pocketbook which I have dropped he is to send it by registered post to Baker
And ask at the station office if there is a message for
The boy returned with a telegram, which Holmes handed to me.
- Wire received. Coming down with unsigned warrant. Arrive
That is in answer to mine of this morning. He is the
best of the professionals, I think, and we may need his assistance. Now, Watson, I think
that we cannot employ our time better than by calling upon your acquaintance, Mrs. Laura
His plan of campaign was beginning to be evident. He would use
the baronet in order to convince the Stapletons that we were really gone, while we should
actually return at the instant when we were likely to be needed. That telegram from
London, if mentioned by Sir Henry to the Stapletons, must remove the last suspicions from
their minds. Already I seemed to see our nets drawing closer around that lean-jawed pike.
Mrs. Laura Lyons was in her office, and Sherlock Holmes opened
his interview with a frankness and directness which considerably amazed her.
I am investigating the circumstances which attended the
death of the late Sir Charles Baskerville, said he. My friend here, Dr.
Watson, has informed me of what you have communicated, and also of what you have withheld
in connection with that matter.
What have I withheld? she asked defiantly.
You have confessed that you asked Sir Charles to be at
the gate at ten oclock. We know that that was the place and hour of his death. You
have withheld what the connection is between these events.
There is no connection.
In that case the coincidence must indeed be an
extraordinary one. But I think that we shall succeed in establishing a connection, after
all. I wish to be perfectly frank with you, Mrs. Lyons. We regard this case as one of
murder, and the evidence may implicate not only your friend Mr. Stapleton but his wife as
The lady sprang from her chair.
His wife! she cried.
The fact is no longer a secret. The person who has
passed for his sister is really his wife.
Mrs. Lyons had resumed her seat. Her hands were grasping the
arms of her chair, and I saw that the pink nails had turned white with the pressure of her
His wife! she said again. His wife! He is
not a married man.
Sherlock Holmes shrugged his shoulders.
Prove it to me! Prove it to me! And if you can do
so ! The fierce flash of her eyes said more than any words.
I have come prepared to do so, said Holmes,
drawing several papers from his  pocket.
Here is a photograph of the couple taken in York four years ago. It is indorsed
Mr. and Mrs. Vandeleur, but you will have no difficulty in recognizing him,
and her also, if you know her by sight. Here are three written descriptions by trustworthy
witnesses of Mr. and Mrs. Vandeleur, who at that time kept St. Olivers private
school. Read them and see if you can doubt the identity of these people.
She glanced at them, and then looked up at us with the set,
rigid face of a desperate woman.
Mr. Holmes, she said, this man had offered
me marriage on condition that I could get a divorce from my husband. He has lied to me,
the villain, in every conceivable way. Not one word of truth has he ever told me. And
whywhy? I imagined that all was for my own sake. But now I see that I was never
anything but a tool in his hands. Why should I preserve faith with him who never kept any
with me? Why should I try to shield him from the consequences of his own wicked acts? Ask
me what you like, and there is nothing which I shall hold back. One thing I swear to you,
and that is that when I wrote the letter I never dreamed of any harm to the old gentleman,
who had been my kindest friend.
I entirely believe you, madam, said Sherlock
Holmes. The recital of these events must be very painful to you, and perhaps it will
make it easier if I tell you what occurred, and you can check me if I make any material
mistake. The sending of this letter was suggested to you by Stapleton?
He dictated it.
I presume that the reason he gave was that you would
receive help from Sir Charles for the legal expenses connected with your divorce?
And then after you had sent the letter he dissuaded you
from keeping the appointment?
He told me that it would hurt his self-respect that any
other man should find the money for such an object, and that though he was a poor man
himself he would devote his last penny to removing the obstacles which divided us.
He appears to be a very consistent character. And then
you heard nothing until you read the reports of the death in the paper?
And he made you swear to say nothing about your
appointment with Sir Charles?
He did. He said that the death was a very mysterious
one, and that I should certainly be suspected if the facts came out. He frightened me into
Quite so. But you had your suspicions?
She hesitated and looked down.
I knew him, she said. But if he had kept
faith with me I should always have done so with him.
I think that on the whole you have had a fortunate
escape, said Sherlock Holmes. You have had him in your power and he knew it,
and yet you are alive. You have been walking for some months very near to the edge of a
precipice. We must wish you good-morning now, Mrs. Lyons, and it is probable that you will
very shortly hear from us again.
Our case becomes rounded off, and difficulty after
difficulty thins away in front of us, said Holmes as we stood waiting for the
arrival of the express from town. I shall soon be in the position of being able to
put into a single connected narrative one of the most singular and sensational crimes of
modern times. Students of  criminology
will remember the analogous incidents in Godno, in Little Russia, in the year 66,
and of course there are the Anderson murders in North Carolina, but this case possesses
some features which are entirely its own. Even now we have no clear case against this very
wily man. But I shall be very much surprised if it is not clear enough before we go to bed
The London express came roaring into the station, and a small,
wiry bulldog of a man had sprung from a first-class carriage. We all three shook hands,
and I saw at once from the reverential way in which Lestrade gazed at my companion that he
had learned a good deal since the days when they had first worked together. I could well
remember the scorn which the theories of the reasoner used then to excite in the practical
Anything good? he asked.
The biggest thing for years, said Holmes. We
have two hours before we need think of starting. I think we might employ it in getting
some dinner, and then, Lestrade, we will take the London fog out of your throat by giving
you a breath of the pure night air of Dartmoor. Never been there? Ah, well, I dont
suppose you will forget your first visit.