Thursday, October 23, 2014

Baskervilles Read-Along: Three Broken Threads (Ch. 5)

My margins of this story are full of smiley faces, hearts, and smiley hearts.  Holmes is particularly delightful in this, isn't he?  He even semi-quotes Hamlet!  Which Holmes does rather regularly throughout the canon.  He might quote other plays too, and I simply don't catch the references because I'm not as familiar with other texts, but I was struck last year by how often he quotes my favorite play :-)  Here, the allusion is at the end of the chapter:  when he says, "A touch, Watson -- an undeniable touch!" (p. 610), he echoes Osric's "A hit, a very palpable hit!" (V, 2).

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Back to the beginning of the chapter.  Sir Henry is angry because his boots keep appearing and disappearing, and who wouldn't be?  I hate it when I can't find something of mine.  Makes me very grumpy.

Anyway, Holmes has more praise for Watson, though of course he might be buttering him up so he'll agree to accompany Sir Henry to Baskerville Hall.  First he calls him "a trusty man" (p. 607), and then he says "there is no man who is better worth having at your side when you are in a tight place" (p. 608).  And the chapter ends on a tense but kind note, with Holmes warning Watson that it's "an ugly, dangerous business" and confessing he will worry about Watson until he's safely back in Baker Street (p. 611).  

Favorite Lines:  "There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you" (p. 609).

Possible Discussion Question:  Why do you think the mysterious man with the black beard taunted Holmes by using his name that way?


  1. I get really grumpy when I lose things as well so I do feel for Sir Henry in this chapter. But I do find it highly amusing that he uses the expressions "playing me like a sucker" and "by thunder!" in this chapter. I can just imagine Arthur Conan Doyle thinking "Hmm, now how can I make this character sound like he's from the new world?" :D

    I guess the mysterious man with the black beard was just being really cocky and thought it would be clever and funny to use Holmes' name. To be fair it kind of is. Even Holmes has a good laugh about it!

    Aw, yes, Holmes is really quite kind and affectionate towards Watson in this chapter :)

    1. Erm, yes. ACD's portrayals of American characters are always a bit... heavy-handed, aren't they? I imagine exactly the same thing -- him searching for some American slang to shovel in for "realism."

      I sometimes get annoyed by people who say things about canon Holmes like he's always serious or he's always making fun of Watson. I'm like, "Clearly you haven't read the stories. Holmes laughs a lot and is awfully fond of little jokes, the more theatrical, the better. And he's really quite nice to Watson... sometimes, at least."


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