The Stolen Boot
We arrived at the Northumberland Hotel at ten minutes to two. Sir Henry Baskerville was talking to the hotel manager.
‘Two boots in two days,’ Sir Henry said loudly. ‘Two boots have disappeared from my room — one new boot and one old boot.’
‘We shall look everywhere, sir,’ said the manager. ‘We shall find your stolen boots.’
Sir Henry was silent while we ate lunch. He was angry about his stolen boots.
‘Tell me, Mr Holmes,’ said Dr Mortimer. ‘Is it safe for Sir Henry to go to Baskerville Hall?’
‘It is safer than staying in London,’ said Holmes. ‘Do you know that a man followed you this morning?’
‘Followed us!’ said Dr Mortimer in surprise. ‘Who followed us?’
‘A man with a thick black beard,’ said Holmes. ‘Do you know a man with a black beard?’
‘Yes, I do,’ replied Dr Mortimer. ‘The servant at Baskerville Hall has a thick black beard. His name is Barrymore. I can’t think why he is following us. But I am sure Sir Henry is in danger. It is better if Sir Henry stays here in London.’
‘No. You are wrong,’ said Holmes. ‘There are millions of people in London. We cannot watch them all. There are not as many people on Dartmoor. Everyone will notice someone who is a stranger.’
‘But this man may not be a stranger,’ said Dr Mortimer.
‘I agree,’ said Holmes. ‘That is why Sir Henry must not stay at Baskerville Hall alone. I myself will be busy in London, but my good friend Dr Watson will go with you to Dartmoor.’
‘Oh… yes, of course,’ I said, ‘I will certainly go to Dartmoor.’
‘Thank you, Dr Watson,’ said Sir Henry. ‘You will be very welcome at Baskerville Hall.’
‘Good,’ said Holmes. ‘Now, Sir Henry, tell me about the other boot which has been stolen.’
‘It is one of an old pair of boots,’ said Sir Henry.
‘How strange,’ said Holmes. ‘And, tell me Sir Henry, if you die, who will become the owner of Baskerville Hall?’
‘I don’t know,’ replied Sir Henry. ‘Sir Charles had two brothers — my father, who went to Canada, and a younger brother called Roger. But Roger never married and he died in South America. I have no living relatives. I don’t know who will get all my money if I die today.’
‘And, may I ask, how much money do you have?’
‘Certainly, Mr Holmes. Sir Charles left me a fortune of one million pounds,’ said Sir Henry.
‘Many men will murder their best friend for a million pounds,’ said Holmes.