Hound of the Baskervilles

by: Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Henry Baskerville

“I don’t say now that he isn’t a crazy man,” said Sir Henry; “I can’t forget the look in his eyes when he ran at me this morning, but I must allow that no man could make a more handsome apology than he has done.”

Sir Henry Baskerville tells Watson about Mr. Stapleton’s apology for behaving wildly and inexplicably over Baskerville’s proposal to Beryl. Mr. Stapleton’s behavior seems out of place since no one, including readers, yet knows that Miss Stapleton is actually Mr. Stapleton’s wife, not his sister. Baskerville assumes Mr. Stapleton suffers from insanity but easily accepts Mr. Stapleton’s somewhat flimsy explanation, demonstrating Baskerville’s easygoing and good-hearted nature.

No, no, it was a hound. My God, can there be some truth in all these stories? Is it possible that I am really in danger from so dark a cause? You don’t believe it, do you, Watson?

As Watson relates in his second report, Sir Henry Baskerville becomes concerned that the curse of the Baskervilles might actually be true when they hear the cry of a hound out on the moor. Later, Baskerville implores Watson not to treat him like a “child” and tell him his honest opinion about the strange cry they hear. Even though Baskerville wants to be strong, he looks to Watson for reassurance.

Whatever you tell me to do I will do.

Throughout The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Henry Baskerville looks to Watson and Sherlock as fatherly figures and submits himself to their will and expertise. Here, Baskerville tells Sherlock that he will follow whatever instructions he gives him from here on out, no questions asked, much to Sherlock’s pleasure. Baskerville creates no problems for Sherlock and exhibits a blind faith in him.

I don’t pretend to know about these things, and I’d be a better judge of a horse or a steer than of a picture. I didn’t know that you found time for such things.

Sir Henry Baskerville seems impressed by Sherlock’s sudden interest in a portrait hanging in the Baskerville Manor and expresses as much. Sherlock responds that the reason he has become taken with the portrait is because he is a connoisseur of art, yet in reality, Sherlock observed an interesting resemblance between Mr. Stapleton and the Baskerville ancestors. Baskerville easily concedes to Sherlock’s boast and defers to Sherlock, saying that he knows more of animals than art.

“I have a good mind to go to London with you,” said the baronet. “Why should I stay here alone?”

Baskerville responds after Watson and Sherlock tell him that they are going back to London, leaving him alone on the moor. Considering the great lengths to which they have gone to protect Baskerville and make sure he is never alone, Baskerville seems taken aback by their change in approach. Baskerville, clearly nervous, wants to follow Watson and Sherlock to London. Baskerville’s concern shows how dependent he has become on Watson’s and Sherlock’s direction.