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

English Lessons based on the story The Hound of the Baskervilles Part 5 for Episode 5

The Scenes from the film

  1. The Stapletons
  2. The light on the moor
  3. The Dinner at Merripit House (Mind! There is no such scene in the book.)

hound of the baskervilles adapted

You can continue now. Watch Episode 5 of the Hound of the Baskervilles and then read part 5 of the book

Episode 5 corresponds to chapter 7 (the second part) and chapter 8 of the book. You can read The Hound of the Baskervilles (in the original)

This part is based on Chapter 7 (continuation)

«Why, you will come on and see Merripit House, will not you?»
A short walk brought us to it, a bleak moorland house. An orchard surrounded it, but the trees were stunted and nipped, and the whole place looked mean and melancholy. Inside, however, there were large rooms furnished with an elegance in which I seemed to recognize the taste of the lady. When I looked from their windows and saw the desolate moor I wondered what could have brought this highly educated man and this beautiful woman to live in such a place.

«Queer place to choose, is it not?» said he as if in answer to my thought. «And yet we manage to make ourselves fairly happy, do we not, Beryl?»
«Quite happy,» said she, but there was no conviction in her words.
«I had a school,» said Stapleton. «It was in the north country. The work to a man of my temperament was mechanical and uninteresting, but the privilege of living with youth, of helping to mould those young minds was very dear to me. However, the fates were against us. A serious epidemic broke out in the school and three of the boys died. And yet, I could overcome my own misfortune, for, with my strong tastes for botany and zoology, I find a great field of work here, and my sister is as devoted to Nature as I am.»
«It might be a little dull for your sister.»
«No, no, I am never dull,» said she quickly.

«We have books, we have our studies, and we have interesting neighbours. Do you think that I should intrude if I called this afternoon to make the acquaintance of Sir Henry?»
«I am sure that he would be delighted.»

I was eager to get back to my charge. The melancholy of the moor, the weird sound which had been associated with the grim legend of the Baskervilles, all these things filled my thoughts with sadness. And then that warning of Miss Stapleton, so definite, that I could not doubt that some grave and deep reason lay behind it. So, I refused to stay for lunch, and I set off at once upon my return journey.

It seems, however, that there must have been some short cut for those who knew it, for before I had reached the road I was astonished to see Miss Stapleton sitting upon a rock by the side of the track. Her face was beautifully flushed and she held her hand to her side.
«I have run all the way in order to cut you off, Dr. Watson,» said she. «I wanted to say to you how sorry I am about the stupid mistake I made in thinking that you were Sir Henry. Please, forget the words I said. They were not meant for you.»

«But I can’t forget them, Miss Stapleton,» said I. «I am Sir Henry’s friend. Tell me why it was that you were so keen that Sir Henry should return to London.»

«You make too much of it, Dr. Watson,» said she. «My brother and I were very much shocked by the death of Sir Charles. We knew Sir Charles well and miss him more than I can tell. His favourite walk was over the moor to our house. He was deeply impressed with the curse which hung over the family, and when this tragedy came I naturally felt that there must be some grounds for the fears which he had expressed. I was distressed therefore when another member of the family came down to live here, and I felt that he should be warned of the danger which he will run. That is all.
«But what is the danger?»

«You know the story of the hound?»
«I do not believe in such nonsense.»
«But I do. If you have any influence with Sir Henry, take him away from a place which has always been fatal to his family. The world is wide. Why should he wish to live at the place of danger?»
«I fear that unless you can give me some more definite information than this it would be impossible to get him to move.»

«I cannot say anything definite, for I do not know anything definite.»
«I would ask you one more question, Miss Stapleton. If you meant no more than this when you first spoke to me, why shouldn’t your brother hear what you said to me?»

«My brother would be very angry if he knew that I have said anything which might make Sir Henry go away. But I have done my duty now and I will say no more. I must go back. Good-bye!» She turned and had disappeared in a few minutes among the scattered boulders, while I, with my soul full of vague fears, contunued my way to Baskerville Hall.

* * *

This part is based on Chapter 8

Our friend, the baronet, begins to display a considerable interest in our fair neighbour, Miss Stapleton. She is a very fascinating and beautiful woman. There is something exotic about her which forms a contrast to her cold and unemotional brother who has certainly an influence over her.

He came over to call upon Baskerville on that first day, and the very next morning he took us both to  the spot where the legend of the wicked Hugo is supposed to have had its origin. It was an excursion of some miles across the moor to the place. In the middle of a short valley rose two great stones, which looked like the huge fangs of some monstrous beast. In every way it corresponded with the scene of the old tragedy. Sir Henry was much interested and asked Stapleton more than once whether he did really believe in the possibility of the interference of the supernatural in the affairs of men.Stapleton told us of similar cases, where families had suffered from some evil influence, and he left us with the impression that he shared the popular view upon the matter.

On our way back we stayed for lunch at Merripit House, and it was there that Sir Henry made the acquaintance of Miss Stapleton. From the first moment that he fell in love with her. He talked about her again and again on our walk home, and since then hardly a day has passed that we have not seen the brother and his sister.  No doubt, Stapleton is much attached to his sister but it would be very selfish of him if he were to stand in the way of her making so brilliant a marriage. Yet I have several times observed that he has tried to prevent them from being tete-a-tete.

On Thursday Dr. Mortimer lunched with us. The Stapletons came in afterwards, and the good doctor took us all to the yew alley at Sir Henry’s request to show us exactly how everything occurred upon that fatal night. It is a long, dismal walk down the yew alley. Halfway down is the moorgate, where the old gentleman left his cigar-ash. It is a white wooden gate with a latch. Beyond it lies the wide moor. I  tried to picture all that had occurred. As the old man stood there he saw something coming across the moor, something which terrified him so that he lost his wits and ran and ran until he died of sheer horror and exhaustion. There was the long, gloomy tunnel down which he fled. And from what? A sheep-dog of the moor? Or a spectral hound, black, silent, and monstrous? It was all dim and vague, but always there is the dark shadow of crime behind it.

So, the days passed and nothing happened. But one night about two in the morning, I was aroused by a stealthy step passing my room. I rose, opened my door, and peeped out. A long black shadow was trailing down the corridor. It was thrown by a man who walked softly down the passage with a candle held in his hand. He was in shirt and trousers, barefeet. I could see the outline only, but his height told me that it was Barrymore. He walked very slowly and there was something guilty in his whole appearance.

I waited until he had passed out of sight and then I followed him. He went along the corridor and then entered one of the rooms. Those rooms are unfurnished and unoccupied so that his expedition became more mysterious than ever. I crept down the corridor as noiselessly as I could and peeped round the corner of the door.

Barrymore was crouching at the window with the candle held against the glass. He stared out into the blackness of the moor for some minutes. Then he gave a deep groan and put out the light. Instantly I made my way back to my room, and very shortly came the stealthy steps passing once more upon their return journey. Long afterwards when I had fallen into a light sleep I heard a key turn somewhere in a lock, but I could not tell where the sound came.
Some text from this chapter is ommited

*  *  *

This part is based on Chapter 9
During several nights I sat up with Sir Henry in his rooms until nearly three o’clock in the morning waiting the stealthy steps in the corridor, but no sound we hear except the chiming clock upon the stairs. On the third night when we had almost given up in despair we suddenly heard the creak of a step in the passage.

The steps passed along and died away in the distance. The baronet gently opened his door and we set out. Our man had gone along the dark corridor. We followed him and had come into the other wing. We were just in time to catch a glimpse of the tall, black-bearded figure, as he tiptoed down the passage. Then he passed through the same door as before.

When at last we reached the door and peeped through we found him crouching at the window, candle in hand, his white face pressed against the pane, exactly as I had seen him two nights before.

The baronet is a man to whom the most direct way is always the most natural. He walked into the room, and as he did so Barrymore sprang up from the window and stood trembling, before us. His dark eyes, glaring out of the white mask of his face, were full of horror and astonishment as he gazed from Sir Henry to me.
«What are you doing here, Barrymore?»

«Nothing, sir.» His agitation was so great that he could hardly speak, and the shadows sprang up and down from the shaking of his candle. «It was the window, sir. I go round at night to see that they are fastened.»
«On the second floor?»
«Yes, sir, all the windows.»
«Look here, Barrymore,» said Sir Henry sternly, «we have made up our minds to have the truth out of you, so it will save you trouble to tell it sooner rather than later. Come, now! No lies! What were you doing at that window??’
The fellow looked at us in a helpless way.
«I was doing no harm, sir. I was holding a candle to the window.»
«And why were you holding a candle to the window?»

«Don’t ask me, Sir Henry – don’t ask me! I give you my word, sir, that it is not my secret, and that I cannot tell it. If it concerned no one but myself I would not try to keep it from you.»
A sudden idea occurred to me, and I took the candle from the trembling hand of the butler.
«He must have been holding it as a signal,» said I. «Let us see if there is any answer.» I held it as he had done, and stared out into the darkness of the night.

From the window I could hardly see the trees and the moor, for the moon was behind the clouds. And then I gave a cry of exultation, for a tiny pin-point of yellow light had suddenly appeared in the dark veil, and glowed steadily in the centre of the black square framed by the window.
«There it is!» I cried.
«No, no, sir, it is nothing – nothing at all!» the butler broke in; «I assure you, sir –»
«Move your light across the window, Watson!» cried the baronet. «See, the other moves also! Now, you rascal, do you deny that it is a signal? Come, speak up! Who is that out yonder, and what is this conspiracy that is going on?»
The man’s face became openly defiant.

«It is my business, and not yours. I will not tell.»
«Then you leave my employment right away.»
«Very good, sir. If I must I must.»
«And you go in disgrace. By thunder, you may well be ashamed of yourself. Your family has lived with mine for over a hundred years under this roof, and here I find you deep in some dark plot against me.»

«No, no, sir; no, not against you!» It was a woman’s voice, and Mrs. Barrymore, paler and more horror-struck than her husband, was standing at the door. Her bulky figure in a shawl and skirt might have been comic were it not the intensity of feeling upon her face.
«We have to go, Eliza. This is the end of it. You can pack our things,» said the butler.
«Oh, John, John, have I brought you to this? It is my doing, Sir Henry – all mine. He has done nothing except for my sake and because I asked him.»
«Speak out, then! What does it mean?»

This story is not the same as in the screen version.
«My unhappy brother is starving on the moor. The light is a signal to him that food is ready for him, and his light out yonder is to show the spot to which to bring it.»
«Then your brother is –»
«The escaped convict, sir – Selden, the criminal.»
«That’s the truth, sir,» said Barrymore. «Now you will see that if there was a plot it was not against you.»

This, then, was the explanation of the light at the window. Sir Henry and I both stared at the woman in amazement. Was it possible that this respectable person was of the same blood as one of the most notorious criminals in the country?

«Yes, sir, my name was Selden, and he is my younger brother. We pampered him too much when he was a boy and gave him his own way in everything until he came to think that the world was made for his pleasure, and that he could do what he liked in it. Then as he grew older he met wicked companions, and the devil entered into him until he broke my mother’s heart and dragged our name in the dirt.

From crime to crime he sank lower and lower but to me, sir, he was always the little curly-headed boy that I had played with as an elder sister would. When he dragged himself here one night, weary and starving, what could we do? We took him in and fed him and cared for him. Then you returned, sir, and my brother thought he would be safer on the moor than anywhere else. But every second night we made sure if he was still there by putting a light in the window, and if there was an answer my husband took out some bread and meat to him. Every day we hoped that he was gone, but as long as he was there we could not desert him. That is the whole truth.»«Is this true, Barrymore?»
«Yes, Sir Henry. Every word of it.»

«Well, forget what I have said. Go to your room, you two, and we shall talk about this matter in the morning.»
When they were gone we looked out of the window again. Sir Henry had flung it open, and the cold night wind beat in upon our faces. Far away in the black distance there still glowed that one tiny point of yellow light.

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