Study Guide

The Hound of the Baskervilles Chapter 9

By Arthur Conan Doyle

Chapter 9

[Second Report of Dr. Watson] The Light Upon the Moor

[This chapter is so long that we're going to break it into sections to make our summary easier to read. Hang in there— it's an action-packed chapter]

Secret Loves

  • The next morning, Watson looks out Barrymore's secret window.
  • He sees that this window gives the best view of the moor.
  • Watson mentions Barrymore's late night activities to Sir Henry, who isn't surprised.
  • In fact, Sir Henry has also heard Barrymore going around late at night.
  • They decide to stay up that night and follow Barrymore. 
  • Sir Henry prepares to go out for a walk on the moor, and Watson gets ready to go with him.
  • Sir Henry's like, three's company, man. Don't crowd me, I've got business on the moor.
  • Watson is embarrassed to be a third wheel, since it's clear that Sir Henry's trying to go on a date. 
  • But Holmes did insist that Watson shouldn't let Sir Henry leave the house on his own.
  • So Watson follows secretly, some distance behind him.
  • He sees Sir Henry meeting with Beryl Stapleton.
  • As Watson keeps a lookout, he sees the two lovebirds jump apart.
  • He watches as Stapleton comes running up, enraged..
  • Stapleton gets all up in Sir Henry's face and then drags Beryl away.
  • Watson appears from his hiding place on top of a nearby hill.
  • Sir Henry's annoyed at Watson's spying. But he's more shocked at Stapleton's bizarre behavior.
  • Why would Stapleton go nuts about Sir Henry proposing to Beryl? 
  • That afternoon, Stapleton comes to Baskerville Hall to apologize for his behavior.
  • He invites Sir Henry and Watson to dinner at Merripit House to make up for it.
  • Stapleton explains why he flipped out at the idea of Beryl and Sir Henry getting together.
  • Apparently, he's just a lonely guy who's come to depend on his sister's company to keep him from getting too isolated. 
  • He hadn't noticed that Beryl and Sir Henry were growing close, and he was taken by surprise to hear of their potential engagement.
  • He has no real objection, but he asks Sir Henry to give him three months to get used to the idea. 
  • Sir Henry agrees, and so he and Beryl are now engaged… to be engaged.

Secret Brothers

  • Sir Henry and Watson now turn their attention back to Barrymore.
  • Two nights later, they catch him again standing at the window with his lamp. Barrymore claims that it isn't his place to say why he's holding a candle to the window.
  • As Barrymore speaks, they spot another light out on the moors.
  • When Barrymore moves his candle, the other light also moves. A signal.
  • Sir Henry fires Barrymore on the spot and accuses him of plotting against him.
  • Suddenly, Mrs. Barrymore appears: she swears that they are not planning to harm Sir Henry.
  • Barrymore tries to calm her, but she insists on explaining: the signal is for her brother.
  • Mrs. Barrymore's brother is none other than—Selden, the insane escaped prisoner. (Gasp!)
  • Mrs. Barrymore explains that, even after everything that Selden's done, when he turned up at their doorstep shivering and alone, she couldn't leave him to die out on the moors.
  • Sir Henry forgives Barrymore for standing by his wife, and rehires him as butler.
  • He sends the Barrymores off to bed, and promises they'll talk over things in the morning.
  • After the Barrymores leave, Watson and Sir Henry look out the window.
  • They can still see Selden's candle burning out on the moor.
  • Watson guesses that he's hiding about a mile or two away.
  • Sir Henry and Watson decide to go out and capture Selden, since a psychotic murderer could be a danger to the community. Ya think?
  • Watson brings his gun, and they set off in the direction of the light.
  • Suddenly, they hear that low, moaning howl that Watson heard on the moor that afternoon with Stapleton.
  • Sir Henry sounds frightened when he asks Watson what the local people say about that sound.
  • Watson tries to play it off as no big deal, but finally he has to admit: it's the howl of the Hound of the Baskervilles.
  • Sir Henry starts to sound very superstitious about this Hound business.
  • They spot Selden just as he seems to realize that he's been found. He takes off across the moor.
  • Sir Henry and Watson chase after him, but he's had too much of a head start.
  • As they're standing on the moor, Watson sees a tall figure of another man outlined against the moon. 
  • A split second later, the man is gone.

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