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

English Lessons based on the story The Hound of the Baskervilles Part 2 for Episode 2

The Scenes from the film:

  1. Sherlock Holmes’s Appointment with Dr. Mortimer.
  2. Meeting with Sir Henry next morning.

hound of the baskervilles adapted

You can continue now. Watch Episode 2 of the Hound of the Baskervilles and then read part 2 of the book.

Episode 2 corresponds to chapter 3 and chapter 4 of the book. You can read The Hound of the Baskervilles (in the original)

This part is based on Chapter 3

«But the footprints did not approached the body?»
«What sort of night was it?»
«A freezing night»
«But not actually raining?»
«What is the alley like?»
«There are two lines of old yew hedge, twelve feet high and impenetrable. There are only two ways to penetrate into the alley. It is a wicket gate which leads on to the moor and an exit through a summer-house at the far end.»
«Had Sir Charles reached the summer house?»
«No; he lay about fifty yards from it.»
«Now, tell me, Dr. Mortimer – and this is important – the marks which you saw were on the path and not on the grass?»

«No marks could show on the grass.»
«Were they on the same side of the path as the moor gate?»
«Yes; they were on the edge of the path on the same side as the moor gate.»
« Another point. Was the wicketgate closed?»
«Closed and padlocked.»
«How high was it?»
«About four feet high.»
«Then anyone could have got over it?»

«And what marks did you see by the wicket gate?»
«None in particular.»
«Good heaven! Did no one examine?»
«Yes, I examined, myself.»
«And found nothing?»
«It was all very confused. Sir Charles had evidently stood there for five or ten minutes.»
«How do you know that?»
«Because the ash had twice dropped from his cigar.»
«Excellent! This is a colleague, Watson, after our own heart. But the marks?»
«He had left his own marks all over that small patch of gravel. I could see no others.»

Sherlock Holmes struck his hand against his knee with an impatient gesture.
«If I only you have called me in, doctor!»  he cried, «You have indeed much to answer for.»
«I could not call you in, Mr. Holmes, without disclosing these facts to the world, and I have already given my reasons for not wishing to do so. Besides, besides … there is a realm in which the most acute and experienced of detectives is helpless.»
«You mean that the thing is supernatural?»
«I did not say so. But since the tragedy, Mr. Holmes, there have been some incidents which are hard to believe.»
«For example?»

«Before that terrible event occurred several people had seen a creature upon the moor. It was a huge creature, luminous, ghastly, and spectral. All people tell the same story of this dreadful apparition, exactly corresponding to the hell-hound of the legend. I assure you that there is a reign of terror in the district, and that it is a hardy man who will cross the moor at night.»
«And you, a trained man of science, believe it, too?»
«I do not know what to believe.»
Holmes shrugged his shoulders.
«I have to tell you, doctor, that so far I have confined my investigations to the material world,» said he. «In a modest way I have combated evil, but to take on the Father of Evil himself would, perhaps, be too ambitious a task.»

«You put the matter more flippantly, Mr. Holmes, than you would probably do if you were brought into personal contact with these things.  I haven’t asked you to investigate the death of Sir Charles.»
«Then, how can I assist you?»
«By advising me as to what I should do with Sir Henry Baskerville, who arrives at Waterloo Station…» Dr. Mortimer looked at his watch – «in exactly one hour and a quarter.»

«The heir?»
«Yes. On the death of Sir Charles we inquired for this young gentleman and found that he had been farming in Canada.»
«There are no other claimants?»
«None. The only other kinsman whom we have been able to trace was Rodger Baskerville, the youngest of three brothers of whom poor Sir Charles was the elder. The second brother, who died young, is the father of this lad Henry. The third, Rodger, was the black sheep of the family. He was the very image of the family picture of old Hugo. He fled to Central America and died there in 1876 of yellow fever. Henry is the last of the Baskervilles. In one hour and five minutes I meet him at Waterloo Station. I have had a wire that he arrived at Southampton this morning. Now, Mr. Holmes, what would you advise me to do with him?»

«Why should he not go to the home of his fathers?»
«It seems natural, does it not? And yet, consider that every Baskerville who goes there meets with an evil fate.»
Holmes considered for a little time.

«I recommend, sir, that you take a cab and went to Waterloo to meet Sir Henry Baskerville.»
«And then?»
«And then you will say nothing to him at all until I have made up my mind about the matter.»
«How long will it take you to make up your mind?»
«Twenty-four hours. At ten o’clock tomorrow you will call upon me here and bring Sir Henry Baskerville with you.»
«I will do so, Mr. Holmes.»

Holmes returned to his seat with that quiet look of inward satisfaction which meant that he had a difficult task before him.
«Going out, Watson?»
«Unless I can help you.»

I went out and spent the day at my club and did not return to Baker Street until evening. It was nearly nine o’clock when I found myself in the sitting-room once more. My first impression as I opened the door was that a fire had broken out, for the room was so filled with heathy smoke. Through the haze I had a vague vision of Holmes in his dressing-gown coiled up in an armchair with his black clay pipe between his lips. Several rolls of paper lay around him.
«Where do you think that I have been?»  he asked me.
«I have been to Devonshire.»
«In spirit?»
«Exactly. My body has remained in this armchair and after you left I sent down to Stamford’s for the map of the moors, and my spirit has hovered over it all day.»
He unrolled the map over his knee. «Here we have the particular district which concerns us. That is Baskerville Hall in the middle.»

«With a wood round it?»
«Exactly. I fancy the yew alley, the moors. This is the Grimpen, where our friend Dr. Mortimer lives. Within a radius of five miles there are, as you see, only a very few scattered dwellings. Here is Lafter Hall, where there is a house which may be the residence of the naturalist – Stapleton, if I remember right, was his name. Here are two moorland farmhouses, High Tor and Foulmire. Then fourteen miles away the great convict prison of Princetown. Between and around these scattered points extends the desolate, lifeless moor. This is the stage upon which tragedy has been played.»
«It must be a wild place.»

«Yes, the setting is a worthy one. If the devil did desire to have a hand in the affairs of men –»

«Then you are yourself inclining to the supernatural explanation.»
«The devil’s agents may be of flesh and blood, may they not? There are two questions waiting for us. The one is whether any crime has been committed at all; the second is, what is the crime and how was it committed?  Have you turned the case over in your mind?»
«Yes, I have thought a good deal of it in the course of the day.»
«What do you make of it, Watson?»
«It is very bewildering. That change in the footprints, for example. Why should a man walk on tiptoe?»
«He was running, Watson – running desperately, running for his life, running until he burst his heart — and fell dead upon his face.»
«Running from what?»
«There lies our problem. Only a man who was crazed with fear would run away from the house instead towards it. He ran with cries for help in the direction where help was least likely to be. Whom was he waiting for that night, and why was he waiting in the dark walk on the freezing night rather than in his own house?»
«You think that he was waiting for someone?»

«Is it natural that he should stand for five or ten minutes, as Dr. Mortimer deduced from the cigar ash?»
«But he went out every evening.»
«I think it is unlikely that he waited at the moor gate every evening. On the contrary, the evidence is that he avoided the moor. That night he waited there. It was the night before he made his departure for London. The thing takes shape, Watson. But we will postpone all further thought upon this business until we have had the advantage of meeting Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry Baskerville in the morning.»

* * *

This part is based on Chapter 4

Next morning our clients were punctual to their appointment, for the clock had just struck ten when Dr. Mortimer was shown up, followed by the young baronet. The latter was a small, alert, dark-eyed man about thirty years of age, with thick black eyebrows. He wore a ruddy-tinted tweed suit and had the weather-beaten appearance of one who has spent most of his time in the open air, and yet there was something in his bearing which indicated the gentleman.
«This is Sir Henry Baskerville,» said Dr. Mortimer.
«Why, yes,» said he, «and the strange thing is, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, that if my friend here had not proposed coming to you this morning I should have come on my own account.»

«Please, take a seat, Sir Henry. Do I understand that you have had some remarkable experience since you arrived in London?»
«Nothing of much importance, Mr. Holmes. Only a joke, as like as not. It was this letter, if you can call it a letter, which reached me this morning.»
He laid an envelope upon the table, and we all bent over it. It was of common quality, grayish in colour. The address, «Sir Henry Baskerville, Northumberland Hotel,» has been written in rough characters; and the date of posting the preceding evening.

«Who knew that you were going to the Northumberland Hotel?» asked Holmes.
«No one could have known. We only decided after I met Dr. Mortimer.»
«But Dr. Mortimer was no doubt already stopping there?»
«No, I had been staying with a friend,» said the doctor. «There was no possible indication that we intended to go to this hotel.»
«Hum! Someone seems to be very deeply interested in your movements.» He opened the envelope and took out a half-sheet of paper. The printed words ran:

hound of the baskervilles adapted

«Now,» said Sir Henry Baskerville, «perhaps you will tell me, Mr. Holmes, who it is that takes so much interest in my affairs?»

«Have you yesterday’s Times, Watson, the inside page, please, with the leading articles?» He glanced swiftly over it, running his eyes up and down the columns.

«Yes, here they are. ‘You,’ ‘your,’ ‘your,’ ‘life,’ ‘reason,’ ‘value,’ ‘keep away,’ ‘from the.’ Don’t you see now where these words have been taken?»
«Well, if that isn’t smart!» cried Sir Henry.
«Really, Mr. Holmes, this exceeds anything which I could have imagined,» said Dr. Mortimer, gazing at my friend in amazement. «I could understand anyone saying that the words were from a newspaper; but how did you guess what paper? And that they came from the leading article? How did you do it?»

«The point is that a Times leader is entirely distinctive, and these words could have been taken from nothing else. As it was done yesterday the strong probability was that we should find the words in yesterday’s issue.»

«Why, of course, that would explain it. Have you read anything else in this message, Mr. Holmes?»
«There are one or two indications. The address, you observe is printed in rough characters. But the Times is a paper which is seldom found in any hands but those of the highly educated. We may take it, therefore, that the letter was composed by an educated man who wished to appear an uneducated one, and his effort to conceal his own writing suggests that that writing might be known, or come to be known, by you. I think we have drawn as much as we can from this curious letter; and now, Sir Henry, has anything else of interest happened to you since you have been in London?»
«Why, no, Mr. Holmes. I think not.»
«You have not observed anyone follow or watch you?»
«Why in thunder should anyone follow or watch me?»

«We are coming to that. You have nothing else to report to us before we go into this matter?»
«Well, it depends upon what you think worth reporting.»
«I think anything out of the ordinary routine of life well worth reporting.»
Sir Henry smiled.
«I don’t know much of British life yet, for I have spent nearly all my time in the States and in Canada. But I hope that to lose one of your boots is not part of the ordinary routine of life over here.»
«You have lost one of your boots?»
«My dear sir,» cried Dr. Mortimer, «it is only mislaid. You will find it when you return to the hotel. What is the use of troubling Mr. Holmes with trifles of this kind?»

«Well, he asked me for anything outside the ordinary routine.»
«Exactly,» said Holmes, «however foolish the incident may seem. You have lost one of your boots, you say?»
«Well, mislaid it, anyhow. I put them both outside my door last night, and there was only one in the morning. I could get no sense out of the chap who cleans them. The worst of it is that I only bought the pair last night in the Strand, and I have never had them on.»
«If you have never worn them, why did you put them out to be cleaned?»
«They had never been varnished. That was why I put them out.»

«Then I understand that on your arrival in London yesterday you went out at once and bought a pair of boots?»
«I did a good deal of shopping. Dr. Mortimer here went round with me. You see, among other things I bought these brown boots – gave six dollars for them – and had one stolen before ever I had them on my feet.»
«It seems a singularly useless thing to steal,» said Sherlock Holmes. «I confess that I share Dr. Mortimer’s belief that it will not be long before the missing boot is found.»

«And, now, gentlemen,» said the baronet with decision, «it seems to me that I have spoken quite enough about the little that I know. It is time that you kept your promise and gave me a full account of what we are all driving at.»
«Your request is a very reasonable one,» Holmes answered. «Dr. Mortimer, I think you could not do better than to tell your story as you told it to us.»
Thus encouraged, our scientific friend drew his papers from his pocket and presented the whole case as he had done upon the morning before. Sir Henry Baskerville listened with the deepest attention and with an occasional exclamation of surprise.

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