Baskerville HallSir Henry Baskerville and Dr. Mortimer were ready upon the appointed day, and we started as arranged for Devonshire. Mr. Sherlock Holmes drove with me to the station and gave me his last parting injunctions and advice.
`I will not bias your mind by suggesting theories or suspicions, Watson,' said he; `I wish you simply to report facts in the fullest possible manner to me, and you can leave me to do the theorizing.'
`What sort of facts?' I asked.
`Anything which may seem to have a bearing however indirect upon the case, and especially the relations between young Baskerville and his neighbours or any fresh particulars concerning the death of Sir Charles. I have made some inquiries myself in the last few days, but the results have, I fear, been negative. One thing only appears to be certain, and that is that Mr. James Desmond, who is the next heir, is an elderly gentleman of a very amiable disposition, so that this persecution does not arise from him. I really think that we may eliminate him entirely from our calculations. There remain the people who will actually surround Sir Henry Baskerville upon the moor.'
`Would it not be well in the first place to get rid off this Barrymore couple?'
`By no means. You could not make a greater mistake. If they are innocent it would be a cruel injustice, and if they are guilty we should be giving up all chance of bringing it home to them. No, no, we will preserve them upon our list of suspects. Then there is a groom at the Hall, if I remember right. There are two moorland farmers. There is our friend Dr. Mortimer, whom I believe to be entirely honest, and there is his wife, of whom we know nothing. There is this naturalist, Stapleton, and there is his sister, who is said to be a young lady of attractions. There is Mr. Frankland, of Lafter Hall, who is also an unknown factor, and there are one or two other neighbours. These are the folk who must be your very special study.'
`I will do my best.'
`You have arms, I suppose?'
`Yes, I thought it as well to take them.'
`Most certainly. Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions.'
Our friends had already secured a first-class carriage and were waiting for us upon the platform.
`No, we have no news of any kind,' said Dr. Mortimer in answer to my friend's questions. `I can swear to one thing, and that is that we have not been shadowed during the last two days. We have never gone out without keeping a sharp watch, and no one could have escaped our notice.'
`You have always kept together, I presume?'
`Except yesterday afternoon. I usually give up one day to pure amusement when I come to town, so I spent it at the Museum of the College of Surgeons.'
`And I went to look at the folk in the park,' said Baskerville. `But we had no trouble of any kind.'
`It was imprudent, all the same,' said Holmes, shaking his head and looking very grave. `I beg, Sir Henry, that you will not go about alone. Some great misfortune will befall you if you do. Did you get your other boot?'
`No, sir, it is gone forever.'
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