The Man On The Moor
Who was the man I had seen on High Tor? Was it the man Holmes and I had seen in London? But I was sure that the man on High Tor did not have a beard. Sir Henry did not see the man on the Tor and I said nothing to him.
There was nothing we could do for Selden. We went back to the house. What had Selden run away from? What had he seen? What had we heard? Was it the Hound of the Baskervilles? I felt safer in Baskerville Hall than out on the moor at night. Sir Henry felt the same.
In the morning, we sent for the police. They took Selden’s body away.
Sir Henry told the Barrymores what had happened. But he did not speak about the strange sounds we had heard. Mrs Barrymore cried and covered her face with a handkerchief. Mr Barrymore said, ‘It had to end. Poor Selden could not have lived on the moor in winter. It is far too cold.’
‘Please forget what I said last night,’ Sir Henry told them. ‘I want you to stay at Baskerville Hall.’
‘Thank you, sir. We will,’ said Barrymore.
I went to my room and wrote a long report to Sherlock Holmes. Then I decided to go for a walk, but I did not want to walk on the moor. I did not like the moor.
Usually, I posted my letters to Holmes in Grimpen Village. But today I decided to walk to Coombe Tracey, the village to the south. It took me an hour to walk there along the road. On the way, I saw Stapleton.
‘I heard you caught the escaped murderer,’ said Stapleton. ‘I will look forward to hearing the story from Sir Henry at dinner tomorrow.’
‘Sir Henry is looking forward to dining with you and your sister tomorrow,’ I replied.
‘And so is my sister,’ Stapleton said coldly. ‘I look forward to seeing Sir Henry tomorrow at eight o’clock.’
‘I will tell him,’ I said. ‘Good day.’
I walked on to Coombe Tracey and posted my letter. I saw a large house outside the village and asked who lived there.
‘That is Mr Frankland’s house,’ the village shopkeeper told me.
Dr Mortimer had told me about Mr Frankland — and about Mr Frankland’s interest in the stars. I decided to visit the gentleman and ask to see his telescope.
Mr Frankland was standing by his garden gate. He was a red-faced, elderly man with white hair.
‘Good day,’ I said, ‘my name is Watson.’
‘Dr Watson?’ asked Mr Frankland.
‘Yes,’ I replied.
‘I heard that you caught Selden last night on the moor,’ said Mr Frankland. ‘I nearly caught him myself.’
‘How did you do that?’ I asked in surprise.
‘With my telescope. Come and see.’
Mr Frankland showed me into his house. I was very interested in his telescope. It was very large and powerful.
‘I saw a man on the moor a number of times,’ said Mr Frankland.
‘Why did you not tell the police?’ I asked.
‘I was not sure that it was the murderer,’ he replied. ‘I began to think that perhaps there were two men on the moor. But why would anyone want to live out on the moor? There is no food and the weather is cold. Then, yesterday, I saw something.’
‘What did you see?’ I asked.
‘I saw someone taking food out on the moor,’ answered Mr Frankland.
‘At night?’ I asked. I thought of Barrymore and his signal light. Perhaps Mr Frankland had seen Barrymore taking food and clothing out to Selden.
‘No,’ said Mr Frankland. ‘I saw a boy taking food during the day — and letters.’
‘Letters?’ I asked. ‘Are you sure?’
‘Very sure,’ said Mr Frankland, ‘because I know the boy. I asked the postman and learnt that the boy collects letters every day.’
‘And where does he take them?’ I asked.
‘Look through the telescope,’ said Mr Frankland. ‘Look at that old farmhouse to the right of High Tor. That is High Tor Farm. Someone lives there, but I do not know who. He is a stranger.’
I looked through the telescope at High Tor. On the left of the Tor I saw the roof of Merripit House, where the Stapletons lived. On the right, I saw an old farmhouse. The roof was broken and so was one wall. But I saw smoke coming from the chimney.
‘Thank you, Mr Frankland,’ I said. ‘Whoever lives there is not Selden. Selden is dead.’
I said goodbye to Mr Frankland. Then I decided to walk across the moor and look at old High Tor Farm. It was a mile or two away and I reached it late in the afternoon. The sun was low in the sky and the air was cold.
I walked up to the farmhouse slowly. The door broken and I looked inside. The farmhouse was empty and silent.
Part of the farmhouse was dry, where the roof was not broken. There was a wood fire on the floor and a bed in the corner. A lamp stood on a table with a pile of papers next to it.
I went into the farmhouse carefully. I put my hand into my jacket pocket where I kept my army revolver. I walked slowly to the table and looked at the pile of papers. I saw one of my own letters. Someone had stolen one of my own letters!
Who lived in the farmhouse? Was it the man with the black beard? Was it the man I had seen on the Tor?
I soon found out, as I heard the sound of footsteps outside. I took my revolver out of my pocket and turned towards the door. A tall, thin man stood in the doorway with his back to the setting sun. I could not see his face.
‘It is a lovely evening, isn’t it Watson?’ the man said.
The man was Sherlock Holmes.