Study Guide

The Hound of the Baskervilles Chapter 4

By Arthur Conan Doyle

Chapter 4

Sir Henry Baskerville

  • At exactly ten the next morning, Dr. Mortimer shows up with Sir Henry Baskerville.
  • Sir Henry is a smart-looking guy of around thirty.
  • He's glad to meet Holmes because he's had a weird experience he wants to discuss.
  • Even though it's not public knowledge where he's staying in London, he received an anonymous note at his hotel that morning. 
  • The note says, "As you value your life or your reason keep away from the moor" (4.11). 
  • Holmes figures out that the words from the note were cut out of the Times (a British newspaper). 
  • Holmes also deduces that the person who left the note is an educated person who wanted to appear working-class, and who was in a huge hurry.
  • Sir Henry has one other weird incident to report: one of his shoes has gone missing.
  • He bought a pair of new brown boots yesterday, and one of them has disappeared.
  • Holmes can't think why anyone would steal one brown boot, so he assumes the boot will turn up again.
  • Holmes tells Sir Henry all about the Hound and Sir Charles' sudden and mysterious death.
  • Sir Henry's heard the story of the Hound since he was a kid, but he doesn't buy it. 
  • He's not going to let some dog keep him away from the property that is rightfully his.
  • Still, Sir Henry wants some time to think over what Holmes has told him.
  • So he invites Holmes and Watson over to his hotel for lunch.
  • Until then, he's going to wander around and think things over with Dr. Mortimer.
  • Holmes watches Sir Henry and Dr. Mortimer leave the apartment.
  • Then, he grabs Watson and rushes out the door.
  • As Holmes and Watson follow Sir Henry at a distance, they spot another man tailing him in a cab.
  • The man has a thick beard and piercing eyes.
  • But as soon as Holmes sees the man, the man yells at the cabdriver to drive on.
  • Holmes is impressed at the smarts of their opponent. 
  • He's also annoyed with himself for making it so obvious that he was following Sir Henry.
  • So Holmes tries a new Clever Plan: he pays a local messenger boy to visit all the major hotels in London.
  • He wants the kid to go through the trash to try to find copy of yesterday's Times with words cut out of the lead article.
  • Holmes and Watson go off to spend a few hours at art galleries before meeting Sir Henry.
  • (The life of a famous private detective sounds pretty sweet, filled with regular excitement, lunches at expensive hotels, and time left over for art appreciation. Where can we sign up?)

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