The Hound of the Baskervilles
Holmes got up early the next morning. He went to Grimpen Village and sent a telegram. When he returned to Baskerville Hall he was excited. ‘We shall go hunting tonight,’ he said, ‘and Inspector Lestrade from Scotland Yard will come with us.’
‘Why are we waiting until tonight?’ I asked. ‘You know who the murderer is, Holmes. Why can’t we catch him before tonight?’
‘We must make sure we have the right man,’ Holmes said. ‘We must wait. We will catch him tonight!’
Inspector Lestrade arrived from London at five o’clock. We met him at Grimpen Station. He was a short man, with bright eyes. He and Sherlock Holmes were good friends. He and Holmes talked together as we drove to Baskerville Hall.
At half past seven, when Sir Henry left the Hall, we were ready.
Sir Henry walked along the path across the Great Grimpen Mire, towards Merripit House. The Stapletons had asked him to come to dinner at eight o’clock.
The three of us followed him — Lestrade, Holmes and I. Each of us carried a revolver. We saw Sir Henry go into Merripit House. We waited below High Tor, about two hundred yards from the house.
The lights burned brightly in Merripit House and the curtains of the dining room were open. We saw Sir Henry talking to Stapleton.
‘Where is Miss Stapleton?’ I said to Holmes. ‘Sir Henry has come to see her, not her brother.’
‘Perhaps Stapleton wants to talk to Sir Henry alone,’ Holmes said. ‘But, look — the mist is rising. Soon we will not be able to see.’
I looked around. Thick white mist was rising from the Great Grimpen Mire.
‘Shall we climb up the Tor?’ I asked. ‘Perhaps we will be able to see better from above the mist.’
We climbed a little way up the Tor. But the mist was so thick we could see only a few yards in front of us.
‘I did not think of this,’ said Holmes. ‘Our plan may fail if we cannot see clearly. We must listen for any sounds from Merripit House.’
We waited in the mist and the moon came up. The white moonlight shone through the mist, but we could not see Merripit House or the path across the moor.
We listened. At last we heard a door open, then the sound of voices. Stapleton was saying goodnight to Sir Henry. Then we heard footsteps below the Tor. Someone was walking along a stony part of the path.
At the same time, we heard another sound. It was the sound of a metal chain and came from Merripit House. Then we heard the deep howling sound of a huge dog.
‘The Hound!’ Holmes shouted. ‘Sir Henry! Sir Henry! Climb the Tor! We are here on the Tor! Hurry!’
Lestrade moved forward to help Sir Henry. But we could not see clearly in the mist.
‘Keep back!’ Holmes shouted to Lestrade.
Lestrade cried out and fired his revolver into the mist. We saw the yellow flash of the revolver and we heard the loud bang. ‘It’s coming!’ Lestrade cried out. He fired again.
In the light of the flash, we saw a huge black shape.
Its eyes and jaws were burning bright with fire. It was a horrible huge monster. It ran past Lestrade. We heard Sir Henry cry out.
We heard the sound of falling stones.
Holmes and I both fired our revolvers at the black shape. We heard a howl. We fired again and again. Then we moved forward carefully and climbed down the Tor.
Sir Henry was at the bottom of the Tor. He had fallen, but he was not hurt. He now stood up carefully.
‘What was it, Mr Holmes?’ he asked. ‘What was that thing in the mist?’
Holmes walked along the path, reloading his revolver with bullets. ‘We are safe,’ he called back. ‘The dog is dead.’
I went to look. There on the path lay the largest black dog I have ever seen. Fire burned around the dog’s eyes and mouth. Blood was pouring from its head.
‘Could it have killed Sir Henry?’ I asked.
‘It would have frightened him,’ said Holmes. ‘The path across the Great Grimpen Mire is narrow. If he had run in the dark, Sir Henry would have fallen into the mire and died.’
‘But where did it come from?’ I asked. ‘And why is its head burning with fire?’
‘I believe it was kept in Merripit House,’ said Holmes. ‘The fire is easy to explain.’
He touched the dog’s head with his fingers. ‘It is a special paint,’ he said. ‘Come. Let us find the murderer.’
We walked back to Merripit House. The door was open. Sir Henry went into the house. ‘Miss Stapleton!’ he shouted. ‘Where is she? She did not join us for dinner.’
A sound came from one of the rooms. Sir Henry pushed the door open. Miss Stapleton lay on the bed. Her hands and feet were tied together. There was a cloth tied across her mouth.
Sir Henry cut the rope around her hands. Holmes took the cloth from her mouth.
‘Where is your brother, Miss Stapleton?’ Sir Henry asked.
Miss Stapleton looked at the floor. ‘Gone,’ she said. ‘My husband has gone.’
‘Your husband!’ shouted Sir Henry. ‘You are Mrs Stapleton?’
‘Yes, I am his wife,’ she said. ‘But his name is not Stapleton. He is the son of your dead uncle, Roger Baskerville. He is your cousin.’
Out on the moor we heard a terrible cry. We ran outside. The mist was thick on the Great Grimpen Mire. The cry came again, and then a loud scream. Then silence.
‘I believe that the Great Grimpen Mire has taken your cousin,’ Holmes said to Sir Henry. ‘He has fallen into the mire. We shall never find his body.’