Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Baskervilles Read-Along: The Stapletons of Merripit House (Ch. 7)

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time stopping at the end of a chapter to write a review.  I want to keep reading and reading.  Would anyone object to my posting a bit oftener than 3 times a week?  

So this is the chapter with the creepy and tragic death of a moor pony.  (Insert sad shivers here.)  Coming on the heels of the mysterious nocturnal sobbing at Baskerville Hall as it does, I would not blame Watson if he started getting considerably more creeped out than he's letting on.

Completely unrelated, but wow, Watson is in great shape!  Did you catch that spot where he said, "It was a pleasant walk of four miles" (p. 620) to get to town from Baskerville Hall?  Four miles!  A pleasant walk!  I used to walk two miles a day, and that plumb wore me out.  And then he obviously walks four miles back too.  Sturdy man, Dr. Watson.  

Anyway, we now meet up with Stapleton, the eccentric naturalist.  Isn't he an odd duck?  Bounding around in the mire, fussing over Watson talking to his sister Beryl, and trying to pump Watson for information about Holmes and his investigation and such.

Favorite Lines:

Holmes himself had said that no more complex case had come to him in all the long series of his sensational investigations (p. 620).

"...ever since I have been here I have been conscious of shadows all round me.  Life has become like that great Grimpen Mire, with little green patches everywhere into which one may sink and with no guide to point the track" (p. 627).

Possible Discussion Question: What do you make of Watson's take on Sir Henry's personality at the end of the chapter, that he is drawn to this place because it is dangerous?


  1. Caught up just last night!! ;)

    The descriptive passages really picked up beautifully in this last chapter and I'm quite hooked now. But oh, the poor pony! SO sad. Interesting how Doyle used the incident to illuminate both Watson and Stapleton. The description of the hall itself is both a bit scary and magnificently impressive.

    1. Oooooh, good point that the pony incident shows off both Watson and Stapleton's characters -- one sympathetic, one not.

  2. Forgot to say I loved the whole traveling sequence (in the train and up to the hall), and also Sir Henry's reactions coming home to the place of his ancestors. In his position, it would definitely be mind-boggling! I still haven't quite decided what to make of his personality. I don't think I've gotten to know him well enough yet....haven't yet seen him under any direct, wrenching strain. :)

    1. Direct, wrenching strain will come.

      I had forgotten that Sir Henry did live in England as a boy. So the moor and the area are somewhat familiar to him, at least. For some reason I thought he'd been born abroad too. Huh.

  3. I say post as many chapters as you want. I'll just keep being a week behind on them anyways. :-)

    I suppose Sir Henry is just drawn to excitement like a cat is drawn to a mouse trap., I mean like a kid is drawn to a hot stove. And Stapleton is weird. Just all around weird.

    My favorite line was "...the undulating downs, long green rollers, with crests of jagged granite foaming up into fantastic surges." Finally: a description of the moors with a color besides grey. I have a totally grey mental image of moors. (That's probably because of Wuthering Heights, too.)

    1. Between this and WH, you've really been stuck on the moors, huh? Funny how this book makes me want to visit the moor and see what it's really like, because it fascinates me. And WH made me want to stay as far away from the moor as possible.

      Stapleton is weird, definitely.

      Perhaps like a kid is drawn to a mouse trap, convinced it can disarm it without getting snapped?

    2. And, of course, after I posted this question asking if I could speed up a little here, Real Life sped up instead and I've been struggling to find time to post. Sigh.

    3. Gosh, YES. I've always had a very ugly mental picture of "the moors" and WH didn't help. And then Watson seems to describe these moors as raining all the time. And Google Images doesn't help. So, I'm a bit confused. Maybe I'll just stroll across the pond and have a look for myself. :-)

      Well, I think I was trying to say 'curiosity killed the cat' in my own roundabout, caffeine-muddled way. And my 7 year old little buddy boy is the same way.....

      Life. *sigh* Life is overrated. :-)

    4. According to Laurie R. King's interview, Dartmoor is lovely and cheerful in the summer. But in October (when this book takes place), it's rainy and foggy and gloomy.

      I must remember to go there in October, copy of THOTB in hand.


What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome!

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)