the hound of the baskervilles chapter 14


Back In Baker Street

‘There are still some things I don’t understand,’ I said to Holmes. ‘Tell me — who was Stapleton? Why did he want to kill Sir Henry?’

‘It is simple, my dear Watson,’ said Holmes. ‘Remember Sir Charles had two brothers. The youngest brother, Roger, was a bad man. He got into trouble over money and went to South America. He died in Venezuela. He did not marry, so no one knew he had a son.’

‘And this son called himself Stapleton?’

‘Yes, and the son was both bad and clever. He wanted the Baskerville money. There were only two Baskervilles left alive — Sir Charles and Sir Henry. If they died, Baskerville Hall would belong to Stapleton.’

‘What about his wife? Why did Stapleton say she was his sister?’

‘At first, Stapleton wanted her to marry Sir Charles or Sir Henry. That was a way of getting the money.’

‘What an evil man!’ I said. ‘But she did not want to help Stapleton. She tried to warn both of them, didn’t she?’

‘Yes, she tried to meet Sir Charles the night he died. But Stapleton found out. Stapleton waited for Sir Charles and frightened him to death with the black dog. Also, Mrs Stapleton sent the note to Sir Henry at the Northumberland Hotel. Then Sir Henry fell in love with Mrs Stapleton, so Stapleton was worried and angry. At last, Stapleton had to tie her up to stop her telling Sir Henry.’

‘And Stapleton was the man with the black beard?’

‘Yes, he tried to hide his face. He put on a beard when he followed Sir Henry in London.’

‘What about the missing boots?’ I asked.

‘The dog and the boots go together,’ Holmes said. ‘Stapleton knew the silly story about the Hound of the Baskervilles. And he knew that Sir Charles believed the story. So, Stapleton bought that huge black dog and let it walk on the moor at night.’

‘But the boots,’ I said. ‘What about the stolen boots?’

‘Watson, you are very slow,’ said Holmes. ‘It was a hunting dog. Hunting dogs will follow a smell. Stapleton wanted some of Sir Henry’s clothes to give to the dog. He paid a waiter at the hotel to steal the boots. But the first boot did not work because it was new. It did not have Sir Henry’s smell. Then, remember, the dog hunted Selden because Selden was wearing Sir Henry’s old clothes.’

‘What a strange story,’ I said. ‘Stapleton was clever.’

‘Yes, my dear Watson,’ said Holmes. ‘I needed your help to catch him. Now, why don’t you write about it? Perhaps you can call your story The Case of the Stolen Boot?’



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