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

English Lessons based on the story The Hound of the Baskervilles Part 9 for Episode 9 (ommited)

hound of the baskervilles adapted

After what have happened in the screen version the following words of Sherlock Holmes may seem cynical, but I am going to spare you from seeing episodes 9 and 10. Because I think that the book is much better than its screen version. Since that moment we will follow the book (in the adaptation below) or  The Hound of the Baskervilles (in the original)

This part is based on Chapter 13 (the last part)

Sir Henry looked worried: «I hoped that you were going to see me through this business. The Hall and the moor are not very pleasant places when one is alone.»
«My dear fellow, you must trust me and do exactly what I tell you. You can tell your friends that we should have been happy to have come with you, but that urgent business required us to be in town. We hope very soon to return to Devonshire. Will you remember to give them that message?»

«If you insist upon it.»
«There is no alternative, I assure you.»
I saw by the baronet’s look that he was deeply hurt.
«When do you desire to go?» he asked coldly.
«Immediately after breakfast. Watson, you will send a note to Stapleton to tell him that you regret that you cannot come.»

«I have a good mind to go to London with you,» said the baronet. «Why should I stay here alone?»
«Because it is your post of duty. Because you gave me your word that you would do as you were told, and I tell you to stay.»
«All right, then, I’ll stay.»
«One more direction! I wish you to drive to Merripit House, send back your gig, however, and let them know that you intend to walk home.»
«To walk across the moor?»

«But that is the very thing which you have so often warned me not to do.»
«This time you may do it with safety. If I had not every confidence in your nerve and courage I would not suggest it, but it is essential that you should do it.»
«Then I will do it.»
«And as you value your life do not go across the moor in any direction save along the straight path which leads from Merripit House to the Grimpen Road, and is your natural way home.»
«I will do just what you say.»

«Very good. I should be glad to get away as soon after breakfast as possible, so as to reach London in the afternoon.»
I was much astounded by this programme, because I hadn’t thought that Holmes would wish me to go with him. So far I could not understand how we could both be absent at a moment which is to be critical. But we bade good-bye to Sir Henry, and a couple of hours later we were at the station of Coombe Tracey and had dispatched the gig upon its return journey.

But we were not going to take the train. After having met the inspector Lestrade we should actually return to the place where we needed to be.
At last the London express came roaring into the station, and a small bulldog of a man had sprung from a first-class carriage. We all three shook hands and set out to Dartmoor.

* * *

This part is based on Chapter 14

The great ordeal was in front of us; at last we were about to make our final effort, and yet Holmes had said nothing, and I could only surmise what his course of action would be. My nerves thrilled with anticipation when at last the cold wind upon our faces and the dark on either side of the narrow road told me that we were back upon the moor once again.

We did not drive up to the door of Baskerville Hall but got down near the gate of the avenue. The wagonette was paid off and we started to walk to Merripit House.
«Are you armed, Lestrade?»

The little detective smiled.
«As long as I have my trousers I have a hip-pocket, and as long as I have my hip-pocket I have something in it.»
«Good! My friend and I are also ready for emergencies.»
«You’re mighty close about this affair, Mr. Holmes. What’s the game now?»
«A waiting game.»
«My word, it does not seem a very cheerful place,» said the detective with a shiver, glancing round him at the gloomy slopes of the hill. «I see the lights of a house ahead of us.»
«That is Merripit House and the end of our journey. I must request you to walk on tiptoe and not to talk above a whisper.»
We moved cautiously along the track, but Holmes halted us when we were about two hundred yards from it.
«This will do,» said he. «These rocks upon the right make an admirable screen.»
«We are to wait here?»

«Yes, we shall make our little ambush here. Get into this hollow, Lestrade. You have been inside the house, have you not, Watson? Can you tell the position of the rooms? What are those latticed windows at this end?»
«I think they are the kitchen windows.»
«And the one beyond, which shines so brightly?»
«That is certainly the dining-room.»
«The blinds are up. Creep forward quietly and see what they are doing – but for heaven’s sake don’t let them know that they are watched!»

I tiptoed down the path and stooped behind the low wall which surrounded the orchard. Creeping in its shadow I reached a point whence I could look straight through the uncurtained window.
There were only two men in the room, Sir Henry and Stapleton. They sat with their profiles towards me on either side of the round table. Both of them were smoking cigars, and coffee and wine were in front of them. Stapleton was talking with animation, but the baronet looked pale and distrait. Perhaps the thought of that lonely walk across the ill-omened moor was weighing heavily upon his mind.

As I watched them Stapleton rose and left the room, while Sir Henry filled his glass again and leaned back in his chair, puffing at his cigar. I heard the creak of a door and the crisp sound of boots upon gravel. The steps passed along the path on the other side of the wall under which I crouched. Looking over, I saw the naturalist pause at the door of an outhouse in the corner of the orchard. A key turned in a lock, and as he passed in there was a curious scuffling noise from within. He was only a minute or so inside, and then I heard the key turn once more and he passed me and reentered the house. Quietly I crept back to my companions and told them what I had seen.
«You say, Watson, that the lady is not there?» Holmes asked when I had finished my report.

«Where can she be, then, since there is no light in any other room except the kitchen?»
«I cannot think where she is.»
I have said that over the great Grimpen Mire there hung a dense, white fog. It was drifting slowly in our direction and banked itself up like a wall on that side of us, low but thick.
«It’s moving towards us, Watson.»
«Is that serious?»
«Very serious, indeed – the one thing upon earth which could have disarranged my plans. He can’t be very long, now. It is already ten o’clock. Our success and even his life may depend upon his coming out before the fog is over the path.»

The night was clear and fine above us. The stars shone cold and bright. Before us lay the dark bulk of the house. Broad bars of golden light from the lower windows stretched across the orchard and the moor. One of them was suddenly shut off. The servants had left the kitchen. There only remained the lamp in the dining-room where the two men, the muderous host and the unconscious guest, still chatted over their cigars.

Every minute that white fog was drifting closer and closer to the house. The farther wall of the orchard was already invisible, and the trees were standing out of a swirl of white vapour. Holmes struck his hand passionately upon the rock in front of us.
«If he isn’t out in a quarter of an hour the path will be covered. In half an hour we won’t be able to see our hands in front of us.»

We were half a mile from the house and didn’t dare to move closer. Holmes dropped on his knees and clapped his ear to the ground. «Thank God, I think that I hear him coming.»
A sound of quick steps broke the silence of the moor. We stared at the path in front of us. The steps grew louder, and through the fog, as through a curtain, there stepped the man whom we were awaiting. He looked round him in surprise as he emerged into the clear, starlit night. Then he came swiftly along the path, passed close to where we lay, and went on up the long slope behind us. As he walked he glanced continually over either shoulder, like a man who is ill at ease.
«Hist!» cried Holmes, and I heard the sharp click of a cocking pistol. «Look out! It’s coming!»

There was a crisp, continuous patter from somewhere. Suddenly Lestrade gave a yell of terror and I sprang to my feet. The dreadful shape was moving towards us from the shadows of the fog. A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glared, its muzzle and hackles were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream could I see anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog.

So paralyzed were we by the apparition that we allowed him to pass before we had recovered our nerve. Then Holmes and I both fired together, and the creature gave a hideous howl, which showed that one at least had hit him. He did not pause, however. Far away on the path we saw Sir Henry, his face white in the moonlight, his hands raised in horror, looking back helplessly at the frightful thing which was hunting him down.

But that cry of pain from the hound had blown all our fears to the winds. If he was vulnerable he was mortal, and if we could wound him we could kill him. Never have I seen a man run as Holmes ran that night. We ran after him urging by the screams from Sir Henry and the deep roar of the hound. I was in time to see the beast spring upon its victim, hurl him to the ground, and worry at his throat. But the next instant Holmes had emptied five barrels of his revolver into the creature.

! In the episode 9 Holmes didn’t come on time. Sir Henry was badly injured.
With a last howl of agony , it rolled upon its back and then fell limp upon its side. The giant hound was dead.
Sir Henry lay insensible where he had fallen. We tore away his collar, and Holmes breathed a prayer of gratitude when we saw that there was no sign of a wound and that the rescue had been in time. Already our friend’s eyelids shivered and he made a feeble effort to move.

«My God!» he whispered. «What was it? What, in heaven’s name, was it?»
«It’s dead, whatever it is,» said Holmes. «We’ve laid the family ghost once and forever.»
We looked again at the terrible creature that was lying before us. It was as large as a small lioness. Even now in the stillness of death, the huge jaws seemed to be dripping with a bluish flame and the small, deep-set, cruel eyes were ringed with fire. I placed my hand upon the glowing muzzle, and as I held them up my own fingers smouldered and gleamed in the darkness.

«Phosphorus,» I said.
«A cunning preparation of it,» said Holmes, sniffing at the dead animal. «We owe you a deep apology, Sir Henry, for having exposed you to this fright. I was prepared for a hound, but not for such a creature as this. And the fog gave us little time to receive him.»

«You have saved my life.»
«Having first endangered it. Are you strong enough to stand?»
«If you will help me up. What do you propose to do?»
«To leave you here. You are not fit for further adventures tonight. If you will wait, one or other of us will go back with you to the Hall.»
He tried to stagger to his feet; but he was still pale and trembling in every limb. We helped him to a rock, where he sat shivering with his face buried in his hands.

«We must leave you now,» said Holmes. «The rest of our work must be done. Now we only want our man.»
«It’s a thousand to one against our finding him at the house,» he continued . «Those shots must have told him that the game was up.»
«But we were some distance off.»
«He followed the hound to call him off – of that you may be certain. No, no, he’s gone by this time! But we’ll search the house and make sure.»
The front door was open, so we rushed in and hurried from room to room. There was no light save in the dining-room, but Holmes caught up the lamp and left no corner of the house unexplored. No sign could we see of the man whom we were chasing. On the upper floor, however, one of the bedroom doors was locked.
«There’s someone in here,» cried Lestrade. «I can hear a movement. Open this door!»
A faint moaning and rustling came from within. Holmes struck the door just over the lock with the flat of his foot and it flew open. Pistol in hand, we all three rushed into the room.

But there was no sign within it of that desperate and defiant villain whom we expected to see. Instead we were faced by an object so strange and so unexpected that we stood for a moment staring at it in amazement.
The room had been turned into a small museum, and the walls were lined by a number of glass-topped cases full of that collection of butterflies and. In the centre of this room there was an upright beam. To this post a figure was tied, so muffled in the sheets that one could not for the moment tell whether it was that of a man or a woman. One towel passed round the throat and was secured at the back of the pillar. Another covered the lower part of the face, and over it two dark eyes – eyes full of grief and shame– stared back at us. In a minute we had torn off the gag, untied the bonds, and Mrs. Stapleton sank upon the floor in front of us. I saw the clear red weal of a whiplash across her neck.
«The brute!» cried Holmes. «Here, Lestrade, put her in the chair! She has fainted from exhaustion.»

!In the episode 10 Miss Stapleton was found atrociously murdered. Holmes again didn’t come in time.

She opened her eyes again.
«Is he safe?» she asked. «Has he escaped?»
«He cannot escape us, madam.»
«No, no, I did not mean my husband. Sir Henry? Is he safe?»
«And the hound?»
«It is dead.»
She gave a long sigh of satisfaction.
«Thank God! Thank God! Oh, this villain! See how he has treated me!» She shot her arms out from her sleeves, and we saw with horror that they were all mottled with bruises. «But this is nothing – nothing! It is my mind and soul that he has tortured. I could endure it all, ill-usage, solitude, a life of deception, everything, as long as I could still cling to the hope that I had his love, but now I know that in this also I have been his dupe and his tool.» She broke into tears.

«Tell us then where we shall find him,» said Holmes.
«There is but one place where he can have hidden,» she answered. «There is an old mine on an island in the heart of the Grimpn Mire. It was there that he kept his hound. That is where he would fly.»
I looked through the window, the fog laying like white wool against it. Holmes held the lamp up.
«See,» said he. «No one could find his way into the Grimpen Mire tonight.»
It was evident to us that all pursuit was in vain until the fog had lifted. We left Lestrade in Merripit House and started for Baskerville Hall. The story of the Stapletons could no longer be withheld from him, but he took the blow bravely when he learned the truth about the woman whom he had loved. But the shock of the night’s adventures had shattered his nerves, and before morning he lay delirious in a high fever under the care of Dr. Mortimer.

* * *

The Conclusion. On the morning after the death of the hound the fog disappeared and we went to the point where there was a pathway through the bog. From the end of it a small wand planted here and there showed where the path zigzagged from tuft to tuft of rushes. Reeds and water-plants sent an odour of decay onto our faces, while a false step plunged us more than once thigh-deep into the dark, quivering mire. It gripped at our heels as we walked, and when we sank into it, it was as if some malignant hand was tugging us down into those obscene depths. Once only we saw a trace that someone had passed that perilous way before us. From amid a tuft of cotton grass which bore it up out of the slime some dark thing was projecting. Holmes sank to his waist as he stepped from the path to seize it, and we had to drag him out upon firm land again. He held an old black boot in his hand. «Meyers, Toronto,» was printed on the leather inside.
«It is our friend Sir Henry’s missing boot,» said he.
«Thrown there by Stapleton in his flight.»
«Exactly. He retained it in his hand after using it to set the hound upon the track. And he hurled it away at this point of his flight. We know at least that he came so far in safety.»

But there was no chance of finding footsteps in the mire, for the rising mud oozed swiftly in upon them, but as we at last reached firmer ground we all looked eagerly for them. But no slightest sign of them ever met our eyes. If the earth told a true story, then Stapleton never reached that island of refuge towards which he struggled through the fog upon that last night. Somewhere in the heart of the great Grimpen Mire, which had sucked him in, this cold and cruel-hearted man is forever buried.

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