Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Baskervilles Read-Along: Second Report of Dr. Watson (Ch. 9)

I wonder why this chapter has the subheading "The Light Upon the Moor," but the last chapter was also a report from Watson, and it has no subheading. 

Also, I just realized this letter is dated October 15th, coincidentally the date I started this read-along.  Huh!  No wonder I want to read/watch this in October every year!

So anyway, here we learn that Sir Henry sleeps even more lightly than Watson.  Watson's heard Barrymore walking around once.  Sir Henry has heard him two or three times.

And Watson's so sweet, writing to Holmes that he hopes he has not "disappointed you as an agent -- that you do not regret the confidence which you showed in me when you sent me down" (p. 639).

How about that Sir Henry, though?  He's quite a brave guy, going out after a convicted murderer (a vicious and brutal murderer) armed only with a hunting crop.  And then although the sound of a hound howling on the moor completely freaks him out, he wants to keep going after Selden!

And though we lose Selden, we spot a mysterious man standing on top of a moor hill.  Clear up one mystery, find another.


Favorite Lines:

"We'll see it thorugh if all the fiends of the pit were loose upon the moor" (p. 644).

There, outlined as black as an ebony statue on that shining background, I saw the figure of a man upon the tor (p. 645).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Do you think Holmes is finding Watson's reports helpful?

14 comments:

  1. I think Holmes is finding Watson's reports helpful. In my edition, there is a picture that has the caption "The shadow of Sherlock Holmes" Now I can't wait to see if that mysterious man is Holmes!!

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    1. Holmes' shadow certainly looms over everything Watson's doing and thinking, don't you think? Like when Watson realizes if he lets Sir Henry go meet Miss Stapleton alone, he'll be disobeying Holmes' direct order, so off he goes.

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  2. Insight to the Holmes & Watson dynamics once again. "In my last note I ended upon my top note with Barrymore at the window, and now I have quite a budget already which will, unless I am much mistaken, considerably surprise you." So even after all that time witnessing Holmes' apparently super-human deductional powers, Watson still believes he can surprise him. He knows and believes more than anyone else that even Holmes is a regular human being :)

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    1. Good point! Watson knows better than any of us that Holmes is human, surprisable, even fallible. Very good insight into their friendship.

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  3. This is the chapter where I decided that I for sure like Sir Henry. I mean, seriously: the poor bloke just got his "blood frozen" by a hellish howl, but he's all gung-ho about catching a crazed murderer. Uh, wow, man. He really is serious about sticking around.

    Mmhmm....it's been 5 years since I read this, but I think I know who that shadow is, and I'd say that Holmes is enjoying Watson's reports very much for reasons not initially suspected. ;-)

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    1. I think this is also where, the first time I read this, I was convinced Sir Henry was a good guy. I mean, he shows up out of no where, coming from Canada -- I was sure for a long time he was an impostor and had killed Sir Charles somehow and was here to get his money. But that howl freaks him out, and that convinced me he was genuine.

      At least, that's how I remember it -- it's been 20 years since my first reading of this, so I could be making that all up too.

      As for that shadowy figure on the Tor... we never get to him soon enough for my taste :-o

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    2. 20 years, really? You have a more focused memory than I do. Oh, wait, you said first reading. Dear me, never mind. It's been 5 years for me, and I was a flighty teenager who just wanted to know what the fuss was about Sherlock Holmes, and got the Hound for my troubles. :)

      I'm starting to remember what an interesting discovery this is, too. ;-)

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    3. Yes, first reading -- I think this is my fifth, and the last was just last year when I was doing my personal challenge to read the whole canon in 12 months. Also, I've seen the Jeremy Brett version at least six times.

      But yes, I do also remember my childhood really vividly. It's part of why I've started writing YA books -- I can remember what it was like to be a teen, and for a long time I thought everyone could remember what they liked and did and felt when they were younger, but I've learned that's not at all true. So I feel like I should tap into that gift.

      I can't remember every single day, but I can remember important things, how books or movies made me feel, even how particular things tasted or smelled sometimes. I'm definitely a memory-maker and memory-keeper.

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    4. Interesting. I remember random things, and big things, and things that I royally messed up. Sometimes I think I have a 'mind palace', and some memories just get pushed out by other things.

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    5. Yeah, I can get kind of overwhelmed sometimes remembering embarrassing or downright wrong things I've done. Then I like to quote Martin Luther in my head, who once said of the way Satan likes to torment Christians with thinking of their past mistakes, "When he tempts me with silly sins I say, 'Devil, yesterday I broke wind too. Have you written it down on your list?' …I remind myself of the forgiveness of sin and of Christ." I find that very helpful and comforting :-)

      Okay, that was kind of a tangent.

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    6. Yeah, but that's the funniest tangent I've read in a long while. Luther had some zingers, didn't he? I need to find my Kitty, My Rib and read it again. I think I could appreciate it better now than I did at 14.

      What I was kinda referring to though was Anne Shirley's remark: "I never make the same mistake twice." If I learn something the hard way, I learn it pretty much permanently.

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    7. I haven't read KMR for a long time, though I skimmed bits for a Femnista article.

      I wish I was more like you and Anne! I make a lot of mistakes over and over.

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  4. I love that this chapter has the heading 'The Light on the Moor' and that Mark Gatiss managed to work in a light on the moor in 'The Hounds of Baskerville'. It's a stroke of genius!

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    1. Yes! I love all the little touches they include, like that. That's really what makes me like that series so well, because it's the sort of thing I'd do.

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What do you think?

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