The Hound of the Baskervilles (in English, abridged, for upper-intermediate)

English Lessons based on the story The Hound of the Baskervilles Part 10 for Episode 10 (ommited)

hound of the baskervilles adapted

The Episode 10 is ommited. We suggest that you should follow the book (in the adaptation below) or  The Hound of the Baskervilles (in the original) 

This part is based on Chapter 15
It was the end of November, and Holmes and I sat, upon a foggy night in front of a blazing fire in our sitting-room in Baker Street. My friend was in excellent spirits over and I was able to induce him to discuss the details of the Baskerville mystery. Besides, Sir Henry and Dr. Mortimer were happened to be in London on their way to the long voyage and were going to call upon us that very afternoon, so that it was natural that the subject should come up for discussion.

«The whole course of events,» said Holmes, «from the point of view of the man who called himself Stapleton was simple and direct. Although to us, who had known the motives of his actions, it appeared exceedingly complex. I have had two conversations with Mrs. Stapleton, and the case has now been so cleared up that I am sure that there is nothing which has remained a secret to us.»

«Perhaps you would kindly tell me the course of events from memory.»
«Certainly, though I cannot guarantee that I carry all the facts in my mind. My inquiries show that the family portrait did not lie, and that this fellow was indeed a Baskerville. He was a son of that Rodger Baskerville, the younger brother of Sir Charles, who fled with a sinister reputation to South America, where he was said to have died unmarried. He did, as a matter of fact, marry, and had one child, this fellow, whose real name is the same as his father’s.»

«He married Beryl Garcia, one of the beauties of Costa Rica, and, having changed his name to Vandeleur fled to England, where he established a school in the east of Yorkshire. When the school had begun well sank from disrepute into infamy, the Vandeleurs found it convenient to change their name to the Stapletons. Then he with the remains of his fortune and his taste for entomology to the south of England fled to the South of England. By the way, he was famous for describing a certain moth, which was given the the name of Vandeleur.»

«We now come to the period which is of some interest to us. Stampleton had made inquiry and found that only two lives stood between him and a valuable estate. When he went to Devonshire he took his wife with him in the character of his sister. I think he may not have been certain about his plot but he meant in the end to have the estate, and he was ready to use any tool or run any risk for that end. His first act was to establish himself as near to his ancestral home as he could, and his second was to cultivate a friendship with Sir Charles Baskerville and with the neighbours. »

«The baronet himself told him about the family hound, and so prepared the way for his own death. Stapleton knew that the old man’s heart was weak and that a shock would kill him. So much he had learned from Dr. Mortimer. He had heard also that Sir Charles was superstitious and had taken this grim legend very seriously. His ingenious mind instantly suggested a way by which the baronet could be done to death, and yet it would be hardly possible to bring home the guilt to the real murderer.»

«Then he started to carry out his idea with the help of a savage hound. The use of artificial means to make the creature diabolical was a flash of genius upon his part. The dog he bought in London from Ross and Mangles was the strongest and most savage in their possession. He brought it down by the North Devon line and walked a great distance over the moor so as to get it home secretlly. He had already on his insect hunts learned to penetrate the Grimpen Mire, and so had found a safe hiding-place for the creature. Here he kennelled it and waited his chance. »

«But it was some time coming. The old gentleman didn’t go out at night. Several times Stapleton lurked about with his hound, but without result. It was during these nights the creature was seen by peasants, and that the legend of the demon dog received a new confirmation. He had hoped that his wife might lure Sir Charles out, but she refused. Threats and even blows refused to make her. For some time Stapleton was at a deadlock.»

«He found a way out of his difficulties through the chance a lady that Sir Charles had made friends with. It was Mrs. Laura Lyons. By representing himself as a single man he acquired complete influence over her, and he gave her to understand that he would marry her. His plans were suddenly brought to a head by his knowledge that Sir Charles was about to leave the Hall on the advice of Dr. Mortimer. He must act at once, or his victim might get beyond his power. He therefore put pressure upon Mrs. Lyons to write this letter, imploring the old man to give her an interview on the evening before his departure for London. He then he prevented her from going, and so had the chance for which he had waited.»

«He got his hound and brought the beast to the gate at which he had expected that he would find the old gentleman waiting. The dog, incited by its master, sprang over the wicket gate and pursued the unfortunate baronet, who fled screaming down the yew alley. In that gloomy tunnel it was indeed a dreadful sight to see that huge black creature, with its flaming jaws and blazing eyes, bounding after its victim. Sir Charles fell dead at the end of the alley from heart disease and terror. Then Stampleton called off the hound and hurried away to his secret place in the Grimpen Mire.»

«So much for the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. You see the devilish cunning of the plot, for really it would be almost impossible to make a case against the real murderer. His only accomplice was one who could never give him away. There were two women concerned in the case, Mrs. Stapleton and Mrs. Laura Lyons. Mrs. Stapleton knew about the existence of the hound. Mrs. Lyons didn’t know about it, but she was impressed by the death which happened at the time of her appointment with Sir Charles. However, both of them were under his influence, and he had nothing to fear from them.»

«It is possible that Stapleton did not know of the existence of an heir in Canada. In any case he would very soon learn it from his friend Dr. Mortimer, who evidently told him about all details of the arrival of Henry Baskerville. Stapleton’s first idea was to prevent Sir Henry from coming to Devonshire at all. He distrusted his wife and he dared not leave her long out of his sight for fear he should lose his influence over her. It was for this reason that he took her to London with him. They stayed at a Hotel where he kept his wife imprisoned in her room while he, disguised in a beard, followed Dr. Mortimer to Baker Street and afterwards to the station and to the Northumberland Hotel. His wife had such a fear of her husband – a fear founded upon brutal ill-treatment – that she dare not write to warn the man whom she knew to be in danger. If the letter should fall into Stapleton’s hands her own life would not be safe. Eventually, as we know, she cut out the words which would form the message, and addressed the letter in a disguised hand. It reached the baronet, and gave him the first warning of his danger.»

«It was very essential for Stapleton to get some article of Sir Henry’s clothes so that, in case he would use the dog, he might have the means of setting him upon his track. We cannot doubt that the boots were stolen to help him in his plan. By chance, however, the first boot which was stolen for him was a new one and, therefore, useless for his purpose. He then had it returned and obtained another and that fact proved to me that we were dealing with a real hound, as no other supposition could explain the necessity of changing a new boot for an old one. The more strange an incident is the more carefully it deserves to be examined, and the very point which appears to complicate a case is, when it is thought over, is the one which is most likely to make it clear.»

«The Stapletons then went down to Devonshire, they were soon followed by Sir Henry and you. You may possibly remember that when I examined the paper upon which the printed words with the warning were glued, I felt a faint smell of the scent known as white jasmine. The scent suggested the presence of a lady, and already my thoughts began to turn towards the Stapletons. Also I had made certain of the hound, and had guessed at the criminal before ever we went to the west country.»

«It was my game to watch Stapleton. It was evident, however, that I could not do this if I were with you, since he would be on his guard. I deceived everybody and I came to Devonshire secretly when I was supposed to be in London. I used the hut upon the moor when it was necessary to be near the scene of action.»

«I have already told you that your reports reached me rapidly and they were of great service to me. But the case had been considerably complicated through the incident of the escaped convict and the relations between him and the Barrymores. This also you cleared up in a very effective way, though I had already come to the same conclusions from my own observations.»

«By the time that you discovered me upon the moor I had a complete knowledge of the whole business. Even Stapleton’s attempt upon Sir Henry that night which ended in the death of the unfortunate convict did not help us much in proving murder against our man. There seemed to be no alternative but to catch him red-handed, and to do so we had to use Sir Henry, alone and apparently unprotected, as a bait. We did so, and at the cost of a severe shock to our client we succeeded in having Stapleton caught in the net. I hope that a long journey may enable our friend to recover not only from his shattered nerves but also from his wounded feelings. His love for the lady was deep and sincere, and to him the saddest part of all this black business was that he had been deceived by her.»

«At his command she consented to pass as his sister, though he found the limits of his power over her when he tried to make her assist in the murder. She was ready to warn Sir Henry and again and again she tried to do so. Stapleton himself became jealous, and when he saw the baronet paying court to the lady, he still could not suppress his passionate outburst. As Sir Henry would frequently come to Merripit House, Stampleton he would sooner or later get the opportunity which he desired. On the day of the crisis, however, his wife turned suddenly against him. She had learned something of the death of the convict, and she knew that the hound was being kept in the outhouse on the evening that Sir Henry was coming to dinner. A furious scene followed. He tied her up so that she might have no chance of warning Sir Henry. He was sure that the whole countryside put down the baronet’s death to the curse of his family. As for his wife, he was going to make her silent by fear and abuse. And now, my dear Watson, I cannot give you a more detailed account of this curious case.»

«There only remains one difficulty. If Stapleton came into the succession, how could he explain the fact that he, the heir, had been living unannounced under another name so close to the property? How could he claim it without causing suspicion and inquiry?»

«There were two possible ways. He might claim the property from South America, establish his identity before the British authorities there and so obtain the fortune without ever coming to England at all. Or he might adopt an elaborate disguise during the short time that he need be in London. We cannot doubt from what we know of him that he would have found some way out of the difficulty. And now, my dear Watson, we have had some weeks of severe work, and for one evening, I think, we may turn our thoughts into more pleasant channels. May I trouble you then to be ready in half an hour, and we can stop at Marcini’s for a little dinner on the way? »


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